India vs Australia: ‘None of them are going to fight now’ - Kaif feels only one Australian cricketer will engage in verbal duels with India in Test series
Unlike the previous many India-Australia Test series, there are expected to be very few verbal altercations on the field during the upcoming four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy, feels former India batsman Mohammad Kaif. In the past, players of India and Australia have gotten at each other’s throats – recall the heated exchange between Rahul Dravid and Michael Slater in 2001, between Virat Kohli and Mitchell Johnson in 2014, Ishant Sharma imitating Steve Smith or Tim Paine not shying away from having a go at Rishabh Pant in 2018/19 – there has been no shortage of it.
However, this time around, Kaif feels verbal interactions between the players will be far and few, given Australia players’ participation in the IPL. The likes of Aaron Finch, David Warner, Pat Cummins and Steve Smith play for IPL franchises Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals respectively and with the players coming off playing a two-month long IPL 2020 not too long ago, where they shared the dressing room with many Indian cricketers, Kaif feels not too many players will have a go at each other.
However, if there is one Australian cricketer who can engage in some sort of verbal exchanges, it’s their captain Tim Paine. Paine was involved in the famous ‘Babysitter’ banter with India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant while he was batting during the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and since the Australia skipper has no IPL duties top perform, Kaif feels Paine is capable of coming up with a few verbal gems this time around as well.
“All the players who play in the IPL, whether it is Finch, Warner or Cummins, none of them are going to fight now,” Kaif said on the Sony Sports Network. “Tim Paine does not play, he knows that he is not going to come to India, he does not have anything to do with the IPL, so he can confront the Indians.”
Kaif weighed in on Australia’s captaincy, believing that by the end of the Test series, there is a strong chance that Paine could be removed from the post. Paine scored 180 runs during the 2019 Ashes, followed by 13 runs in two Tests and Pakistan and 153 from three Tests against New Zealand. If Paine doesn’t have a good season with the bat against India, Kaif reckons it could be the end of the road for Paine as Australia’s Test captain, especially now that captaincy talks have started surrounding Smith.
“I feel by the time the Test series is over, Tim Paine would have been dropped. He is not able to score runs with the bat. He just got the captaincy because Smith and Warner had the problem at the time. They were banned, so he was made the captain in compulsion,” Kaif said. “Now that they have come back, if he doesn’t score, then his playing in the XI will also be difficult. So it will be better if he concentrates on batting and keeping only this time.”