PORT ELIZABETH – Australian wicketkeeper Tim Paine has stressed the tourists will continue sledging for “as long as we play” and claimed that South Africa’s version of the events that unfolded in Durban are “completely false”.
Paine was at the heart of the Kingsmead stairwell row that involved David Warner and South Africa’s Quinton de Kock. Warner was ultimately fined 75% of his match fee and issued three demerit points.
It could have been much worse, though, had Paine not physically restrained a furious Warner, who the visitors allege was provoked by De Kock’s comment about the opener’s wife.
In turn, South Africa steadfastly believes it was Warner that had engaged in a personal on-field verbal attack that involved members of De Kock’s family.
“That’s completely false. At no stage was Quinton’s family mentioned, that’s 100 percent false,” Paine told reporters of the events preceding a flare-up that occurred as the teams left the field for tea on Sunday’s fourth day. “I don’t know how their team manager (Mohammed Moosajee) can hear from where he’s sitting but from where I was, which was right near the whole time, there was nothing we said that was inappropriate.”
Warner is no stranger to controversy and was nicknamed “Bull” early in his career, with his most high-profile misdemeanour occurring in 2013 when he punched England’s Joe Root in a bar in Birmingham during the Champions Trophy. Equally, Australia’s on-field conduct has come under severe scrutiny over the years with players saying in the past they are willing to “head-butt the line”, particularly during heated series such as the Ashes and clashes with India.
The Aussies have even previously selected players such as the hugely-vocal Matthew Wade based on their sledging demeanour with quieter wicket-keepers such as Paine and Peter Neville forced to sit on the sidelines. It was only recently that Paine was recalled to Australian team, but the gloveman is adamant the visitors are not going to change their attitude anytime soon.
“Our stuff is the way we’ve always played our cricket,” he said. Certainly it’s hard, and we like to make them feel uncomfortable out there. But we don’t cross the line and bring people’s wives and family into the cricket game. And we’ll continue to do that for as long as we play.”
Paine was equally confident that the drama leading up to the second Test here at St George’s Park will not affect Warner’s performances at all.
“I don’t think so. I think every time he plays for Australia Davey is pretty fired up and ready to go.
He’s obviously a professional and been a terrific international cricketer for a long period of time. You don’t be like that if you not at your best mentally all the time. I don’t think Davey will be trying harder than he does every other time. He’s got a job to do and he knows what that is and we expect him to do it well.”