Australia skipper Paine hits back at Clarke’s criticism

Australia Test captain Tim Paine has hit back at Michael Clarke for saying the Aussies are trying to hard to be liked instead of winning games.

Clarke, a former Australia skipper, said the national side needed “to stop worrying about being liked and start worrying about being respected” and also urged the team to “play tough Australian cricket.”

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Paine though dismissed the notion that the Aussies want to be liked by opposing teams, saying the opposite is true and that they needed to get the public to trust in the team again in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal.

The wicketkeeper told ESPNcricinfo: “No one has spoken about being liked, certainly by the opposition.

“We’ve spoken about wanting to get the Australian public’s trust and make sure that clearly you want the Australian public and cricket fans to like or love the Australian Test team.

“Certainly there’s that aspect, but from an opposition perspective we’re not concerned about being liked one bit.

“We’re still going to play hard Australian cricket, as Michael put it, that’s not going to change.”

Paine added that the Australian team’s approach had already evolved if you look at their result in the Test in Dubai last month against Pakistan when they held on for draw.

The gloveman is also confident that with their arsenal of fast bowlers – Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins – all back fit and firing they will give India a good go in the upcoming Test series at home.

Paine went on: “Clearly Johannesburg was a really strange circumstance and a difficult game to play in for everyone I think, but going into Dubai the guys competed as hard as they could and they’ll continue to, and we’ve got some more senior guys coming back now.

“With Hazlewood, Starc and Cummins, that’s only going to help guys grow with confidence around them.

“With guys like Travis Head and Marcus Harris, when you’ve got Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc and Patrick Cummins running in, it’s a bit easier to play that confident, aggressive style of cricket that Australia want to play and our team certainly wants to play.”

The first of four Tests between Australia and India starts in Adelaide on 6 December.