On Sunday (March 25), Paine was asked to stand in to captain an extremely demoralised set of players onto the field less than 24 hours after the ball-tampering saga exploded out of Cape Town.
With Steve Smith and David Warner stepping down from their leadership duties for the rest of the game, Cricket Australia handed over the reigns to the senior gloveman to see the side through the contest, which they eventually lost by a massive margin of 322 runs to concede a 2-1 lead in the series. ‘Strange’ was how Paine put it when asked about the captaincy after the game. “Not the circumstances that anyone would like to be sitting here, really
bizarre, strange, horrible 24 hours,” he said after the crushing loss.
Paine also revealed that Smith and Cameron Bancroft have been struggling ever since the episode came to light while conceding that the major backlash, especially from supporters back home was something they didn’t anticipate. “They’re not great,” Paine said about Smith and Bancroft. “It’s been a horrible 24 hours, they’re struggling, but probably the reality and the enormity of what’s happened is starting to sink in,” he noted.