Tim Paine Leaves the Way His Journey Began: 2021

From being completely out of the picture to almost retiring due to a finger injury, Tim Paine rebuilt his career heroically. He found himself in the 2017 Ashes side after some nice performances domestically, and quickly regained his spot among the top keepers in the country. Barely back into the side, Tim Paine was thrown into captaincy after the ball-tampering controversy, which saw Steve Smith step down tearfully.

Tim Paine’s career has been full of challenges. He made his debut in 2010, along with Steve Smith, but then went on to contend with form and injury issues. Australia also had a lot of keeping options, which made the journey difficult for Paine. While Tim Paine accepted captaincy with open arms, his challenges were nowhere near over.

Tim Paine took the task of rebuilding Australia’s tarnished image, after an embarrassing cheating scandal. With two of their best players missing, Tim Paine went on to lead the side in the UAE, and the first Test helped him establish himself in the new role. He helped fight out for a draw in tough conditions, but a loss in the second Test resulted in a series defeat.

While the results didn’t come out nicely, Australia managed to fight well, and had another assignment at home against India. The home series was tough, with Australia losing their first series at home against India. The void left by Smith and Warner was massive. Following the India series, Tim Paine managed to register his first series win as captain against Sri Lanka.

The win allowed Tim Paine to settle into his position a bit better as Australia prepared for the Ashes. After a string of white-ball games for which Tim Paine was not involved in, He finally made his way to England for the Ashes. His side benefitted with the return of Smith and Warner, but Australia copped a lot of banter through the series from the hostile English crowds.

Despite everything thrown at them, Tim Paine lead the side well, and some out of the World batting from Steve Smith allowed Australia to regain the Ashes with a drawn series. Tim Paine became the first captain to regain the Ashes in England in 18 years, and his captaincy was spoken of highly, while he also helped in the lower-order.

The year kept getting better for Tim Paine, and Australia as they swept the summer, beating New Zealand and Pakistan at home. Due to the pandemic though, their wasn’t much Test Cricket in between, and Australia played their next set of Tests a summer later, when India came for another visit.

The tour started well for Tim Paine, as he scored crucial runs lower down the order in Adelaide, and Australia blew India away for a 36 all-out. There was a fightback in Melbourne, with India winning, and a draw in Sydney, aided by some dropped catches from Tim Paine, which began to put his position under the scanner. His banter proved costly as well, as Australia lost at the Gabba, losing another home series to India.

The Gabba Test turns out to be Paine’s last as captain as Australia hasn’t played a Test ever since. He has still earned a lot of respect through his captaincy journey. He took the leadership role when Australia were hated by their own country and the World, and rebuilt their image as a group of good blokes. The results may have not come as he would have liked, but Tim Paine surely rose to the challenge of leading in tough times, and has also contributed to the greater good. He was pretty vocal about Afghanistan not allowing their Women’s team to play, which is another example of his contribution to the game.

However, an issue from 2017 has put him under the scanner again. The issue was kept under the blanket back then, allowing Australia to rebuild their picture, and grow under his captaincy. Unfortunately, the old issue comes up now, and has left Australia tarnished again, as there are doubts over their culture yet again. He was made captain when Steve Smith was emotional in front of the media, and now Tim Paine leaves after a teary press conference as well.

With a restructure in place again, Australia gears up for the Ashes, against a side who are trying to rebuild after a racism scandal of their own. Tim Paine is available as a player, and has regained fitness after a neck surgery. Runs have been an issue for him, but with everything that he has gone through in the last few days, Tim Paine will be raring to go and prove a point.