Tim Paine, the Australia cricket team skipper, is emerging as a symbol of how to sledge an opponent without being too provocative or nasty. For some time, Australia have been accused of sledging which have sometimes ‘crossed the line’ according to their opponents. However, on day 2 of the Boxing Day Test between India and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Paine’s banter was hilarious to hear and his target, Rohit Sharma, could not stop smiling. During an over bowled by Nathan Lyon to the Mumbai batsman, stump microphones caught a hilarious exchange between Paine and Aaron Finch who was standing at short leg. The conversation centered on the Indian Premier League.
Paine was trying to break Rohit’s concentration and he egged him to hit a six off Lyon. “It’s been a toss up for me between Royals and Indians, and if Rohit hits a six here, I am changing to Mumbai,” Paine was heard saying to Finch. The Australian skipper then went on ask Finch how many teams he has played for. Finch said except for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings, he has played for all. The right-hander is an IPL veteran having played for teams like Delhi Daredevils now Delhi Capitals, Gujarat Lions, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, Pune Warriors, Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Rohit was not distracted and he played a composed knock to score his 10th fifty as India declared on 443/7 at the end of day 2 of the Boxing Day Test.
In this series, Paine has been remarkable when it comes to verbal exchanges. In the Perth Test, the Australian skipper was involved in a face-off with Virat Kohli and it is difficult to say who came out on top. “If he messes it up, it's 2-0," Kohli said. In response, Paine fired a unique salvo and stated, “You've got to bat first, big head". The Indian skipper was animated ever since he was dismissed for 123 by Pat Cummins, with Peter Handscomb taking a ‘dodgy’ catch in that match. In the second innings, Paine had an epic exchange with Murali Vijay with Kohli at the other end. “"I know he's your captain but you can't seriously like him as a bloke," Paine had said.
The four-match series is currently tied 1-1 after India won the Adelaide Test by 31 runs and Australia registered a 146-run win. Paine’s side are currently struggling in the Melbourne Test as they aim for survival.