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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Ashes 2019: ‘Steve Smith’s a freak’: Skipper Tim Paine reveals message from Australia PM ahead of Oval Test

England vs Australia: Tim Paine revealed that Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison praised the team, especially Steve Smith, ahead of the fifth Test.

cricket Updated: Sep 11, 2019 16:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File image of Australia cricketer Steve Smith.
File image of Australia cricketer Steve Smith.(Action Images via Reuters)
         

Australia may have retained the Ashes after their 185-run win in the fourth Test at Old Trafford but skipper Tim Paine has warned the opposition their job isn’t done yet and they will be going for a series victory in the fifth and final Test at the iconic Oval starting Thursday. The visitors won the first Test by 251 runs but after the drawn second, England leveled the series with a stunning turnaround in the third Test. A win in the fourth Test meant Australia ended their 18-year Ashes drought in England.

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Paine has now revealed Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison had a message for the team ahead of the fifth Test. Paine joked that he might give him a call to the PM if they win the final Test and also revealed that Morrison praised the team especially Steve Smith.

“I’m going to save it and I might ring him if we win this one,” Paine joked ahead of Oval Test. “He was pretty pumped. (His message was) along the same lines of messages we got from a lot of people back home in Australia - congratulations, everyone’s proud of us, Steve Smith’s a freak and make sure you finish it off this week.”

Steve Smith’s glorious Ashes has raised calls from some fans and pundits for his restoration to the Australia captaincy but incumbent Tim Paine has no plans to hand over the reins quietly.

Smith is banned from leadership roles until March because of his involvement in a Cape Town ball-tampering scandal last year but he is tipped by some former players and leading cricket writers to regain the captaincy from wicketkeeper Paine after his batting heroics in England.

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“I’m enjoying what I’m doing and whilst I can continue to contribute in some way I’ll continue to do it,” he told Australian media. “I constantly talk to (coach) Justin Langer and (selector) Trevor Hohns about what might happen or how long I might go for, but I think we’re all comfortable and we’re all on the same page so it’s all good.”

((With agency inputs))