Langer Throws Weight Behind Tim Paine to Remain Australia Captain

Tim Paine had taken charge of the Australian cricket team after the ball tampering saga broke out in 2018.

3 min read
Under Tim Paine, Australia have won nine of the 18 Tests so far.

Australia head coach Justin Langer on Wednesday threw his weight behind Tim Paine, saying the stumper batsman will be the team’s captain for the foreseeable future.

There was talk about Paine's captaincy after he said this could be his last summer. Paine took over the reins from Steve Smith after the latter was banned for a year for his role in the ball tampering saga.

With Smith’s further one-year ban from holding a leadership position within the team expiring early in the New Year, however, there have been questions raised whether Paine is the right man for the job.

"Truth is there's been conjecture from outside but there's never been one millisecond of conjecture within our team," Langer told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground where Australia will be facing New Zealand in the final Test beginning on Friday.

"He's almost our most important player because he's a very good leader, his captaincy's been excellent, he's the best wicket-keeper in the world, he's as fit as anyone in the group. If he believed he could bat as well as we think he can, then we'll see results like we did in the last test match," said Langer ahead of Australia's third test against New Zealand.

Asked if Paine would remain the captain if Australia reach the final of the ICC World Test Championship, Langer said "I hope he plays as long as he possibly can because his leadership's been brilliant."

"In his last performance he was pushing on man of the match ... and he's so fit ... I just literally cannot think of one reason why he wouldn't play as long as he wants to, or needs to."

On how close the current group is to developing the aura that accompanied the all-conquering teams of which he was part, Langer was quoted as saying by "We have to keep winning. The only way you get it is to keep winning. What's most interesting is we haven't really talked about it, we've had targets, for example the World Cup, we targeted that a bit out, and we had the Ashes last year.

Justin Langer was named coach of the Australian cricket team in May 2018.
Justin Langer was named coach of the Australian cricket team in May 2018.
(Photo: Twitter/@CAComms)

"I put it to the team at the start of this summer, what's our next target, put it to the leadership group and they started talking about the World Test Championship.

"So all of a sudden there's a focus there. The year's been incredible with a World Cup and an Ashes (campaign), the way the boys individually are getting better, the way the group's getting better, and the feeling in the camp's unbelievable but the trick is to maintain it. The All Blacks (New Zealand's rugby team) do it over and over again,” Langer said.

“The Australian cricket team in the past has been able to, and hopefully I can be sitting here in twelve months’ time with a smile on my face.”
Justin Langer, Australia coach

"That's what the plan for the new year is, not to start again but to continue building this great momentum that's happening in Australian cricket at the moment. It didn't feel like it 12 months ago," he added.

Australia have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the Test series against the Black Caps.

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