The Ashes 2019: Tim Paine says Edgbaston not in top 15 intimidating grounds
Tim Paine has dismissed suggestions that his Australia side will be intimidated by the atmosphere at Edgbaston during the first Ashes Test.
England have got an excellent recent record at the ground, renowned for its raucous, partisan home support, winning six of their last eight Tests there since a defeat to South Africa in 2008, while Australia have not won in Birmingham in any format since 2001.
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Most recently, Australia were thrashed by England in the World Cup semi-final but Paine was unequivocal when asked if there was a more intimidating cricket stadium in the world than Edgbaston.
“Than this? I could name you 15!” he said.
Paine insisted that there was no disappointment from Australia when they first heard the series would begin in Birmingham and argued that if his team are at their best, where the game is played is irrelevant.
“What an opportunity,” he added. “England haven’t lost here in… I don’t even know, I haven’t looked at it. It doesn’t concern us at all.
“I know a lot of the time when teams come to Australia and they have to go to the Gabba or the WACA it plays on their mind so I’ve seen it work in reverse, but it doesn’t affect us.
“We’ve got our plans individually and as a team, it’s about us going out there on Thursday and executing that skill and if we believe that if we do that it doesn’t matter if we play at Edgbaston, the Gabba or on the moon.
“We think our best cricket is good enough and the Edgbaston pitch or the Edgbaston crowd, grandstand, whatever it is won’t play a part in deciding this Test match.”
Paine did concede that abuse from the crowd could get to his players, particularly Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith and David Warner, who are sure to be targeted having served bans for their part in the ball-tampering scandal last year.
“It’s got the potential to unsettle anyone, they’re human beings, they’ve got feelings, they’re no different to anyone else!” the Australia skipper said.
“We felt the guys handled themselves superbly throughout the World Cup. Someone like Banners hasn’t witnessed it yet but certainly Steve and Dave handled themselves superbly.
“We’ve spoken about the fact that it is going to go up a notch and traditionally if you speak about watch might happen, when it does you’ve got the plan in place to handle it and that’s what we’ve done.”
There has been a conscious effort from the Australia team to improve their image on and off the field since sandpaper-gate and Paine says that they have taken inspiration from a quote erroneously attributed to Winston Churchill: ‘Behaviour never lies’.
“Brad Haddin actually brought that up in one of the chats that we’ve had, I quite liked it,” he said.
“We’ve raised it with our own team. We’ve spoken internally about our behaviour and the way we want to be seen.
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