Many in the cricket world were stunned when last week’s record books showed Tim Paine had become the second best wicket-batter keeper in Australian test history behind Adam Gilchrist.
But one man who was not blind was Australian coach Justin Langer.
At the end of the crucial rounds of the Australian captain of 73 paces off the first innings of his team of the Adelaide Oval lightPaine’s batting average had climbed to 33.40.
This means the right-hander now has the second highest average of Australian batting goaltenders with a minimum of 20 tests beside their name, placing him ahead of Brad Haddin (33.40), Matthew Wade (30.5), Ian Healy (27.39) and Rod Marsh (26.51).
When invited to share his thoughts on the surprising statistic at a press conference, Langer took the opportunity to salute Paine’s full game.
“I have tremendous confidence in Tim Paine in every part of his game, be it his wicket, his captain, his stick,” said Langer.
“I said publicly, I said privately last year that he’s almost our most important player. He’s an elite wicket-keeper, his leadership on and off the pitch is amazing and we saw how hard he hit in the first innings under pressure in Adelaide. It probably changed the game, in fact, with the run-out of Virat Kohli. He’s a great player, he’s a great leader and I literally love having him on the team. “
Langer backed Paine in January this year to lead Australia until at least the end of the 2021 ICC test championship, which will culminate in a final between the two top-ranked teams at Lord’s in June.
And Healy said this week he expects the glover to become captain until the end of the Ashes’ Australian tour in 2023 in England, when he turns 38 and has played nearly 50 tests.
Paine has yet to do a century of testing – his best score is the 92 he compiled against India at Mohali in 2010 – but Langer said it didn’t accurately reflect his value with the blade.
“A lot of people are talking about Painey’s stick, but he’s made some really big contributions over the last period,” Langer said.
“He had some good partnerships during the Ashes, during the summer of last year, so I don’t lose a second of sleep over Painey’s stick – that’s for sure.”
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