Australia must forge new identity – Paine

Australia’s captain for now, Tim Paine, believes his team must forge a new and better identity out of the wreckage of Newlands, where the infamy of the ball-tampering fiasco was rounded off by the humiliation of an abject 322-run defeat.
South Africa’s captain Faf du Plessis believes Australia’s ball tampering at Newlands was a more serious offence than his “ball shining” offence in 2016, but admitted feeling some sympathy for his opposite number Steve Smith after he and David Warner were compelled to step down by Cricket Australia pending an internal investigation into the affair.
“For me, yes,” du Plessis responded when asked whether the Australians’ offence was more serious. “Ball shining versus ball tampering is two different situations, and one is more serious than the other.
“It’s difficult for me to give an answer which I think is right. It’s so difficult to say which is right and which is wrong. Obviously he is trying to take responsibility, so there is right in that. There is also right in holding other people responsible for their own actions. I can understand it’s a really tough time for him to be in now. The situation I was in was really difficult for me because people were attacking me, my personality and my character and I felt it was wrong, it wasn’t fair. I don’t know how he feels but I imagine it is a really tough time.
“He’s a very good batsman and somehow we’ve managed to keep him quiet. Its almost like losing two players in one because he’s such a strong batter. I also feel his leadership is good for the team so he’ll be a big loss for them.”
After echoing the Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland in apologising to fans of the game, Paine admitted the team had not been prepared for the sheer scale of the reaction that has flowed from across the Indian Ocean over the past 24 hours. He also said that Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were all struggling personally after their respective parts in the affair.
But Paine said it was no excuse for a fourth-innings combustion from 57 for 0 to 107 all out, which left the touring team needing to win in Johannesburg to preserve a share of the series, and maintain an unbeaten record in South Africa over the past 24 years. Looking ahead, he showed the first acknowledgement that the Australian team’s wider culture and image needed to change, starting with the way they behaved and performed at the Wanderers from Friday.
“There’s ammunition enough but it’s a difficult situation that some guys are going to get an opportunity from, so it’s trying to grab hold of the one positive that may come of it is guys are going to get an opportunity to play for their country,” Paine said.
“The whole opportunity for us going forward now is something we can learn from.
“Something we can try to control is how we are seen going forward by our Australian public and become the team that we want to become and they want us to be seen as. So that’s an opportunity going forward. I don’t think we all would have expected this to be as big as it has been and particularly the fallout that we have seen from back home, I think the reality and enormity of it has sunk in.”
Through the extraordinary circumstances of this tour, Paine found himself elevated to the captaincy a matter of months after he was a surprise choice as Australia’s Ashes wicketkeeper when not even Tasmania’s first-choice behind the stumps. There is no small irony here, for as far back as 2010, he was touted as a leader of the future. This is not the way anyone imagines it happening.