Australia

Paine must lay down law: Chappell

Tim Paine, centre, cops the flak for the losses so should have more control of the team, says Ian Chappell Picture: Getty Images

Ian Chappell believes Tim Paine must hold his place as Australian captain and should be given more authority to control his team’s destiny.

Paine has been put under a microscope after Australia surrendered what seemed an unlosable Test series to India, but he has gained high-powered support from one of cricket’s greatest-ever leaders.

Chappell said Paine had been the right kind of personality to take over the reins of the Australian team after the ball tampering scandal in 2018 and was still the right man to take the side back to South Africa next month.

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Australia’s real issue, according to Chappell, is a broken way of thinking, where the coaching staff and management hold as much influence on the team as the captain out in the middle.

Chappell told Cricket Australia’s exhaustive Argus Review in 2011 that administrators had made it impossible for captains to do their job properly, a view he reiterated when Steve Smith was in charge with Darren Lehmann as coach. The former Test captain warned a cycle of mediocrity would continue in Australian cricket as long as there were too many cooks involved in determining team tactics and making key decisions and addresses, which should be the sole domain of Paine as skipper.

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“Tim needs to tell a few people to butt out, which is going to be harder to do now than if he’d done it at the start,” said Chappell.

“But you’ve only got to look back to Mark Taylor. Allan Border had allowed (coach) Bob Simpson to have enormous power, and when Mark took over, Simpson stepped forward to make a speech, and Mark just grabbed him by the arm and said, ‘I’ll handle this, Bob.’ And he was in charge.

“That’s the way it’s got to be.

“The reason I say that is when Tim woke up the next morning after the Test, he only had to look at what was going on.

“Were Justin Langer and Andrew McDonald and all the other management copping the flak?

“No, it was Tim. So as long as the wins and the losses (are in your name) and the flak is coming your way, you might as well have a fair say in what goes on.

“I’m not saying anything that I haven’t said before. Because I said it at the Argus Review.”

Chappell said that while Paine was not in the same category as Taylor or Michael Clarke in terms of on-field tactics, he was a fine captain who deserved to be backed in for the foreseeable future.

According to Chappell, Pat Cummins is already too overburdened, as the “Dennis Lillee” style lion-heart of the team, to take on more responsibility as well as leading the bowling attack.

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Chappell says Australia doesn’t need a new captain, but a change in theory, which peels back the modern beliefs on high-performance management and restores the skipper as the one true leader.

“I think he’s done a terrific job in the circumstances (in which he took over),” Chappell said of Paine. “It’s a system that doesn’t work. Australia will always beat the lesser teams because the talent is there.

“But that’s not the idea.

“The idea is to beat the best teams and that’s a system that will cause you problems against the better teams, as it has done in this series.”

Chappell described some of Australia’s day five tactics against India at the Gabba as “stupid”, but said that in the modern game there were too many voices involved, which he believed complicated the feel and instinct a captain needed to have on the field.

“Every captain goes down the wrong path at some stage or other,” Chappell said. “It’s how quickly you see, ‘Uh oh, this isn’t working, let’s go somewhere else’

“Herein, I think, lies another problem with the system. They sit down and have all these meetings before every match and at night: ‘This is the plan, and this is what we’re going to do.’

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“It’s not that complicated.

“How many times have you heard, “Hit the top of off, with the odd bouncer’?

“Pretty well that’s your team meeting.

“Obviously I’m oversimplifying it but it’s not that complicated.

“What bothers me with a lot of modern captaincy is they go out there with these plans and the plan remains the plan. Now that’s not how captaincy works.

“You have a plan for everyone.

“We had a plan for Viv Richards, Garry Sobers, but blokes of that ability, they can spoil your plans in five minutes, so you better have somewhere else to go.

“Again, trust me, you cannot captain the side from off the field.

“It’s too late by the time the message gets out there.”

The Daily Telegraph

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