Tim Paine
Tim Paine is searching for his first win as Australia captain (Getty Images)

The past nine months have upended Tim Paine’s international career. He made a surprise comeback to the Australia Ashes squad in November 2017 – seven years after his last appearance in Test cricket. A successful series followed and the wicketkeeper-batsman was put on the plane for the South Africa tour.

There, the ball-tampering controversy broke and Paine was handed the Australia Test and ODI captaincy after Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned by Cricket Australia. In his first assignment in England, Australia lost all five ODIs under the 33-year-old.

Spin legend Shane Warne has been a vocal critic of Paine being handed the leadership role. In the aftermath of all that has happened, Paine faces the challenge of not only endure Australia return to winning ways but also a healthy atmosphere in the dressing room.

Former Australia captain Allan Border reckons that Australia have moved away from their traditional way of approaching the game in a ‘tough, uncompromising’ way and returning to the older way is the way forward.

“The first thing I’d be addressing is that we play the Australian way and get back on track there,” Border was quoted as saying by the foxsports.com.au. “Yes, we want to get back to playing tough, uncompromising cricket but there’s a spirit of play in the game. Australian teams have always done that really well. Tough cricket but fair. Maybe we’ve got a little bit away from that in the past.”

Australia next face Pakistan in October in a two-Test series in the UAE and Border has asked Paine to not shy away from trusting his instincts despite playing just 13 Tests so far. “He’s in charge now so he’s got to put his own style of captaincy there. He can’t be scared to back his own judgment. Even though he’s basically a rookie Test cricketer, he’s been around cricket for long enough to give it a gut feel. He will know what should and shouldn’t be happening, so he should back his gut instinct,” he said.

A happy dressing room is the foundation of the brand of cricket a team plays in the middle and Paine has to ensure the unity between the players. “You have to get in that dressing room and get it to be a happy place. Make sure the guys enjoy each other’s company and really foster that team spirit. If you get that dressing room sorted out so it’s a happy place for players to be it’s a good solid start to how you play cricket out in the middle,” Border said.