Q&A with Tim Paine:
How do you look back on your cricket journey to date?
I've had a great journey - I've enjoyed it. I've experienced a lot, some really high moments, some really low and a lot in the middle. It's been a pretty good story with a bit of everything. And I count myself as fortunate to have experienced some hard times and now to some great times. It's given me great experiences. I've travelled, I've met a lot of people and made some lifelong friendships and having gone through it all I consider myself extremely lucky.
How are you finding the Test captaincy?
I absolutely love it. Bit daunting at the start given the circumstances and the fact that I had just come back into the team. But I've just tried to be myself and I think that seems to work. As soon as you try and act and be something you're not, you slip up. So I just want to be level and consistent and I promised myself, even before I was captain, when I came back into the team that I would really enjoy myself. Playing cricket for Australia is something I dreamt about as a kid and when I first did it I probably didn't allow myself to enjoy it. I was really hard on myself, up tight and tense, so this time I wanted to make sure I enjoyed every minute of it, and I have and will continue to do that.
Mark Taylor has said that he only saw your appointment as a short-term measure, but you have surprised him. How did you view it?
I just saw it as an opportunity and wanted to try my best. That's all you can ever ask. If you put a time on it, you're not in the moment. I didn't think I'd do it for a year or six months, it didn't really bother me. What bothered me is that while I'm in the job I'm doing the best possible job I can and at the moment I think I can look myself in the mirror and say that I am.
How much longer do you envisage it lasting?
I think potentially there's a bit left in me. I feel really good. I missed two years in the middle of my career with my finger injuries so I feel although I'm 35 I only have to go to Tassie training for a few weeks and feel I'm keeping up with our younger guys with fitness levels and energy levels combined with my love of the game. I don't wake up in the morning and think 'I can't be bothered'. I wake up and cannot wait to get to Bellerive. I get the same feeling walking in now that I did as a 16-year-old on a rookie contract. I love going to training and being around my teammates. While I continue to enjoy it and do what I perceive to be a good job, I'll keep doing it.
What changes did you introduce following the sandpaper controversy?
Justin Langer and I have been given a lot of credit but the truth is the process has involved the whole playing group and staff. Really it was just a lot of small tweaks. I took over at a challenging time publicly but internally there was not a large amount we had to change. It was mostly just making sure standards were always high and never dropped. We addressed a lot of small things and sought to keep each other accountable. Playing Test cricket for Australia is pretty special and something millions of people want to do and at the moment it's a great place to be.
How do you find the diplomatic side of the job?
It's grown on me. I wasn't a huge fan when I first started, I saw it as a bit of a burden. There is a lot of things you have to go to but now I try to put a positive spin on it. I'm in a position where I'm meeting fascinating people whether they be leaders around our country or successful business people. I had a night at the High Commission in London and it was just a who's who of famous Australians and even at the home Test matches there are always people that want to come into the changerooms. It's fascinating but also surreal for me because although I'm the Australian Test captain I don't see myself in that light so when people want to come and meet you I find it quite daunting but have just tried to make it a real experience, ask a lot of questions and learn things off them. During the Ashes we had John Howard with us a lot, he was classic. Then you'll have someone like Hugh Jackman come in and you think 'What's going on here?' It's bizarre the people that come in. In England there were politicians, Premier League footballers, singers, you name it. We're really lucky to be able to meet such influential people. Ed Sheeran was at a lot of the Ashes matches which is pretty cool. But that's what Test cricket does, it seems to draw those people in, particularly Australia versus England. It's got that vibe that people want to be seen at.
Tim Coyle brought you here today, do you feel you've come full circle with him having been there at the beginning as well?
Absolutely. I started working with Tim when I was 12 or 13 years of age. Tim's coaching career and my playing career basically went together. He was head of junior pathways when I came in so was overseeing my 15s, 17s or 19s. When I was on a rookie contract I did most of my work with Coyley. He was always my go-to, certainly for my wicket-keeping and knew exactly where I was at. He became Tigers coach as I became a regular in the team. There's a number of us who would say Coyley was the biggest influence on our careers. He took us from young boys into men and made us good young cricketers. He took us into first-class cricket and showed us that we could compete with state teams like NSW and Victoria and beat them and we could play for Australia. He oversaw that transition and we were really lucky to have him.
What was it like to be part of a golden generation in Tasmanian cricket?
It was great, particularly being a young Tasmanian. I was always a little bit frustrated when I was a youngster that guys would move down and play for Tasmania and our cap didn't mean as much as it should have to them. Coyley recognised that we had to get in some young Tasmanians who would do what it took to be successful and for who playing for Tasmania meant something. Coyley and Ali de Winter saw in myself, George (Bailey), Hilfy (Ben Hilfenhaus), Xavier Doherty and others that there were players they could build a team around. So we got a great opportunity, some great coaching and our confidence grew. We formed a core of what was a really successful era and several of us went on to play international cricket. We owe Coyley, Ali and Cricket Tasmania a lot. They stuck with us and really backed us in. I remember a clear shift in the Shield team when Coyley took over. It became that we were no longer going to be a place where players flicked from other teams could come down, get a few more years, earn some decent money and go. We wanted to not only compete with the bigger states but beat them. Coyley gave us that belief and it turned out to be correct.
We are role models. We want to set the example for kids and our fans. We want to be a team that they can be proud of and if that's something that has happened in my time I want to make sure it continues on into the future.Tim Paine
What are your memories of your Test debut?
I got to debut at Lord's under Ricky Ponting. It was against Pakistan in 2010. Ricky took it upon himself to present me with my Test cap. He was my idol and captain so it was a dream start for me. And to be at Lord's with my family there, it's a memory I'll never forget. I took my first catch in Test cricket off fellow Tasmanian Ben Hilfenhaus. I can still remember that nick.
Are you over your finger injury now?
It's never going to be perfect. But I've got to the stage I can manage it pretty well. It gets a bit sore when our big fast bowlers are bowling a lot of bouncers. It gets in the way of them because I catch predominantly right-handed and it's my right index finger. So it gets a bit sore after a Brisbane or Perth Test. It doesn't give me too many troubles day-to-day. It slightly affects my batting because I can't make a fist and it took me a long time to readjust my grip and my game went from someone who was quite strong cutting and cover driving to someone who's now predominantly more leg side and that's probably the change of grip and being more dominant with my bottom hand.
What's the biggest issue facing Tasmanian cricket?
Probably the fact that the talent pool here is a little bit thinner and there's so many more options for kids. The Big Bash has been great at drawing in more youngsters and families, getting more eyeballs on cricket and giving kids a dream that cricket can be the way. But it's no different to how it's always been, we know it's a smaller pool, we've just got to get better at identifying the talent, like we did 15 years ago. Find your main six or seven and back them in but there's a real skill in being able to find those players. That's a challenge but I think we've got some people over at Cricket Tasmania who will be all over that.
What's the biggest issue facing Australian cricket?
To continue the standard of behaviour that we've set ourselves to make sure we're always monitoring that and we don't become lazy and allow it to slip back. I think the standard of cricketer and talent we've got is extremely healthy so it's about making sure we keep that humility particularly around our high performance teams and make sure we are role models. We want to set the example for kids and our fans. We want to be a team that they can be proud of and if that's something that has happened in my time I want to make sure it continues on into the future.
What are your goals now?
Being really consistent as a person and as a captain. That's the main goal for me.
How are you finding commentating?
I'm really starting to enjoy it. I went in a bit green and when we first went live I had the same feeling I get when I'm next in to bat. But the more I did it, the more comfortable I became and it's something I'll be pursuing in the next couple of years.
TIMOTHY DAVID PAINE
- Born: December 8, 1984, in Hobart
- Major teams: Australia, Australia A, Hobart Hurricanes, Pune Warriors, Tasmania, World-XI
- Height 1.80m
- Schools: Lauderdale Primary, Rokeby High, Rosny College
- Test cap 414
- Debut: July 2010 v Pakistan
- 31 matches, 1330 runs at 31.66, strikerate 44.24, highest score 92, catches 133, stumpings 7
- ODI cap 178
- Debut: August 2009 v Scotland
- 35 matches, 890 runs at 27.81, strikerate 70.80, highest score 111, catches 51, stumpings 4
- T20I cap 41
- Debut: August 2009 v England
- 12 matches, 82 runs at 10.25, strikerate 106.49, highest score 25, catches 11, stump[ings 2
- First-class: 135 matches, 5732 runs at 29.39, strikerate 45.49, highest score 215, catches 441, stumpings 21