The Tim Paine book of banter, which so far has seen entries on babysitting and knighthood, drew inspiration from another unexpected topic during Australia’s first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba: the batsman’s scent.
Paine, who appears to be particularly adept at sledging opposition keepers, was especially chatty when Mohammad Rizwan came in to bat for the visitors on Thursday, 21 November. The right-hander played three straight dots, and Paine was on his case right away, bringing up their former skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was removed from the Test team last month.
“Sarfaraz would’ve already gone for four. Sweep shot – bang – four!” he said to the Pakistan batsman. And then, Paine told the short-leg fielder, Rizwan “smells very nice”.
"He smells very nice."
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) November 21, 2019
Paine, leading Australia at a time when they are trying to rebuild their culture and hold themselves up as role models, has shirked the nasty sledging of Australian teams of old to embrace a more playful chirping from behind the wickets.
During India’s tour Down Under last summer, he questioned Rishabh Pant about his place in the ODI side, also offering him a couple of jobs. “Big MS [Dhoni] is back in the one-day squad, do you mind getting down to the Hurricanes? We need a batter,” he quipped. “You babysit? I’ll take the wife to the movies one night, you’ll look after the kids?”
Tim Paine to @RishabPant777 at Boxing Day Test: "You babysit? I'll take the wife to the movies one night, you'll look after the kids?"
*Challenge accepted!* 👶
(📸 Mrs Bonnie Paine) pic.twitter.com/QkMg4DCyDT
— ICC (@ICC) January 1, 2019
With Rohit Sharma, the stump mics picked him up saying to the Mumbai Indians skipper, “Always been a toss-up for me between the [Rajasthan] Royals and the [Mumbai] Indians, who I support. If Rohit hits a six here, I am changing to Mumbai.”
Another gem of a sledge came against M Vijay, when he asked the batsman if he liked Virat Kohli. “I know he’s your captain, but you can’t seriously like him as a bloke,” he commented.
As for when Australia played England, Paine seemed to suggest that Ben Stokes would be the latest ‘New Zealander’ to get a knighthood. “Sir Richard Hadlee, Sir Ben Stokes,” he quipped.