Published on March 24th, 2018 | by Suraj Choudhari0
The silent worker
Tim Paine has been delivering well since his return to the Test side.
A lot of eyebrows were raised when Tim Paine earned a Test recall in the Ashes after almost seven years of his last appearance in whites. Australia were struggling to get an impactful wicketkeeper-batsman and trusted the experienced Tim Paine with the job in the high-voltage Ashes. Needless to say, despite being under pressure, Paine did his job. Australia regained the Ashes by beating England 4-0. After a terrific job Down Under, Paine has been impactful in South Africa as well.
Paine got crucial runs against England and did well in batting with the tail. To add to his good fortunes, he has been effective behind the stumps as well, further solving Australia’s woes for an effective wicketkeeper-batsman. He may not have big numbers under his belt but has done his job quite effectively. Since his return, Paine averages 47 in 11 innings with 329 runs to his name and a half-century.
In the ongoing Test against South Africa at Cape Town, Paine remained unbeaten on 34 and helped Australia get close to South Africa’s total. He once again proved his worth with the bat and was involved in a crucial partnership with Nathan Lyon, which brought Australia back into the game. With every outing, Paine seems to be growing in stature. HE has looked in a different zone altogether since his return and technically sound too.
Out of the eight Tests that Paine has played since his comeback, he has stitched crucial partnerships on five occasions with the lower-order. Runs from the lower-order are always frustrating for the opposition and a bonus to the side achieving it. It’s a different skill set to bat with the tail and Paine seems to be doing it quite effectively.
“One of the things he’s done well with his batting is he’s changed the momentum of the game when he’s come in. He’s batted really well with the tail and, as a wicketkeeper, that’s one of our most important jobs. To be able to understand how to bat with the tail – when to put the foot down, when to protect them a little bit and I think that’s the one thing in his game he’s done really well since coming back in. It’s not so much the focus on getting big hundreds, it’s about making sure he’s changing the momentum and batting well with that lower order,” Brad Haddin was quoted by cricket.com.au.
At Cape Town, Paine walked out to bat when Australia were precariously placed at 150 for 5. They needed a partnership as South Africa bowlers were tightening the noose around them. Moments later, Mitchell Marsh was dismissed. Wickets kept tumbling at one end while Paine remained solid as a rock at the other, manoeuvring the ball quite well. Along with a firing Lyon, Paine accounted for a crucial 66-run stand and ensured Australia were still in the hunt at stumps.
Lyon played his shots and tried his luck to garner some quick runs, while Paine was astute in his approach. Eventually, Australia were dismantled for 255 while Paine remained unbeaten on 34. He did his job quite well and has justified his selection so far. The crucial partnership with Lyon has kept Australia in the hunt and if their bowlers managed to do well in the second innings, then Australia will certainly stand a good chance in this Test. South Africa were all set to gain a massive lead, but Paine and Lyon denied them. The ball would have certainly been in South Africa’s court had South Africa gained a lead over 100.
Not a lot of batsmen have managed to get going in South Africa, but Paine has certainly been one of the bests from his side. He averages 45.66 in five innings so far and has looked confident out in the middle. He may not have flashy hundreds to his name but has silently inflicted damage. He is the unsung hero in this line-up. It will be interesting to see if Australia will tinker with his batting position in the rest of the series as he seems to possess a sound technique that is working in South Africa.
As of now, Paine has stood up and delivered for his side. Australia are no more worrying about finding a reliable wicketkeeper-batsman because they have Tim Paine, who has been effective at 7 with the bat as well as with the gloves behind the stumps.