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'His leadership's been brilliant' - Langer backs Paine's reign as captain
Australia News

'His leadership's been brilliant' - Langer backs Paine's reign as captain

Australia coach Justin Langer believes Tim Paine possesses the leadership credentials to continue being in charge of the side until next year's World Test Championship final.

Australia are currently placed at No. 2 in the championship table and look strong favourites alongside India to make it to the final of the inaugural edition of the tournament.

Despite leading Australia to an Ashes-retaining win in England during the summer and successive series victories over Pakistan and New Zealand at home, Paine's position as the Test skipper has been questioned.

With Steve Smith's leadership ban set to come to an end in March, there have been renewed calls from certain corners of the cricket fraternity to hand the captaincy baton back to the star batter.

But Langer is not keen on instituting this change as he dismissed any talk of removing Paine from the job.

"Truth is there's been conjecture from outside but there's never been one millisecond of conjecture within our team," the former opening batsman said.

"He's almost our most important player because he's a very good leader. His captaincy is excellent, he's the best wicketkeeper in the world and he's as fit as anyone in the group.

"If he believed he could bat as well as we think he can, then we'll see results like we did in the last Test match."

Paine, 35, struck a crucial half-century against New Zealand in Melbourne, sharing a 150-run stand with centurion Travis Head in the first innings.

The keeper-batsman's return to form will do wonders to his confidence, given his lean run in Test cricket blotched by a lack of substantial scores.

Paine took over the reins of the Australian Test unit amidst the chaotic South Africa tour in 2018 that saw Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft receive bans for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal.

Langer stressed there was no threat to Pain's role in the team and hoped to see him lead Australia out at Lord's in 18 month's time if they qualify for the championship final.

"I hope he plays as long as he possibly can because his leadership's been brilliant," he said.

"In his last performance he was pushing on for man-of-the-match ... and he's so fit ... I just literally cannot think of one reason why he wouldn't play as long as he wants to, or needs to."