India vs Australia: Focus on performance not preserving record, says Tim Paine

first_imgAustralian skipper Tim Paine said his “work-in-progress” team is unfazed by the prospect of losing a home Test series to India for the first time and will only be focussed on being competitive in the fourth Test in Sydney on Wednesday.India have never won a Test series on Australian soil, but go into the series-finale starting Thursday with a 2-1 lead. The visitors need only a draw to claim a piece of history.”My focus has been on us improving and us playing the best possible cricket we can. We want to win every Test we play. At times it’s not possible. We’re playing the best Test team in the world at the moment who are playing really well,” Paine admitted in the pre-match press conference.Australia lost the third Test by 137 runs in Melbourne.”I haven’t thought too much about losing the series, that’s for sure…some guys will use different things to motivate them. My motivation is making sure we’re improving, competitive at all times and put up a really good fight against India,” he said.Paine said Australia’s inexperienced batting line-up failed to get going in Melbourne, but will slowly learn from mistakes. No Australian batsman has scored a hundred yet in this series and it is something the skipper hoped would be remedied in this final match.”We are constantly a work in progress…as I said before, it is about trying to keep a bit of perspective, a reality about where we are at. I think we are showing signs of getting better,” he said.advertisement”I think in the last Test while our batters didn’t set the world on fire, most guys got a start and showed that they can succeed at this level. So in this Test there is going to be a real focus from our batting group,” he added.He didn’t make a direct mention of the ball-tampering bans of Steve Smith and David Warner, which will end in March, but Paine spoke of the experience that the side will have a few matches’ time. He felt it would strengthen the team.”We know we are not going to win too many Test matches without scoring hundreds and that’s something that we have spoken about. It is something we are really keen to improve and address.”The silver lining is that in a few Tests’ time we have some world-class players available and we are going to have some younger guys with 8-10 Tests under their belt. So, it is going to be a great thing for Australian cricket,” he said.Australia are expected to make a couple of changes, with Aaron Finch making way for Usman Khawaja at the top and Peter Handscomb coming in for Mitchell Marsh. But the hosts haven’t named their playing eleven for the first time in the series. Paine shrugged off suggestions that he could move up the order.”We want to try and settle guys who we think will play long-term in their positions looking forward into the next series and then into the Ashes. But at the same time we’ve got to find the best eleven to win this Test as well, so it’s a bit of a balancing act,” he explained.”I’ve had some discussions around that (promoting himself). It may happen, it may not, but I certainly haven’t been setting the world on fire. I need to cash in on my starts as well so I’m no different to the other guys in our top six and I’ve just got to play my role,” he added.Speaking about the opposition, Paine expressed surprised that off-spinner R Ashwin might not be available for the fourth Test due to niggles. For Australia, leg-spin all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne might be set for a debut depending on the pitch conditions come Thursday morning.”…I think some of our batters will be pretty happy to hear that news (of Ashwin probably missing out). But we know they’ve got some other spinners in their squad Kuldeep Yadav is younger but has got some serious talent and Ravindra Jadeja did the job for them in Melbourne,” he said.”We’ll have a quick look at the wicket again today an probably decide later on this afternoon. It is about team balance really.”We’ll be looking to pick the best eleven that we think is the best combination to win this Test. Obviously the wicket will play a part in that,” he signed off.Also Read | Virat Kohli charms fans with selfies, autographs at training in SydneyAlso Read | Virat Kohli says his men not motivated by history ahead of SCG TestAlso Watch | Dog agrees with Virat Kohli as India captain says: No pressure in Sydneyadvertisementlast_img read more

Dalic warns Messi and Argentina: Croatia going for win

first_imgWorld Cup Messi the greatest but Croatia will play to beat Argentina, says Dalic Joe Wright 04:12 6/21/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) zlatko dalic - cropped Getty Images World Cup Argentina Lionel Messi Croatia Argentina v Croatia The 2014 World Cup finalists struggled against resolute Iceland on Saturday, and their next rivals are full of confidence ahead of Thursday’s match Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic thinks it would be useless not to aim for a win against Lionel Messi and Argentina in Thursday’s World Cup clash in Nizhny Novgorod.A 2-0 opening win over Nigeria has put Croatia at the top of Group D heading into the showdown with Jorge Sampaoli’s side, who were held to a 1-1 draw by tournament debutants Iceland.Messi came in for criticism after that match, in which he missed a second-half penalty, but Dalic nonetheless has no doubt the Barcelona star is the finest player in the world. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move However, he maintains his own players must be brave and go for all three points against Argentina, as he fears playing for a draw would be far too risky.”Messi is the best in the world and no single player can stop him,” he told a news conference.”Our game can stop him. We have to cut him off from passes. But Argentina are not just Messi. They have plenty of good players and we shouldn’t fall into this trap of focusing just on Messi.”We’re playing one of the best in the world, we have a great deal of respect for them but we also respect ourselves. It’s going to be a great challenge, but we have to believe in ourselves and show our true colours.11 – Lionel Messi attempted 11 shots for Argentina vs Iceland (the most he’s ever attempted in a World Cup game), but he still didn’t manage to score a goal. Frustration.#ARGISL #ARG #WorldCup— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 16, 2018″It’s the easiest game for us because we have nothing to lose. It’s going to be a match that could go either way. The pressure on us is less because we’ve got three points in the bag but if we play for a draw, we won’t get it. If we play for a win, we might get a result.”Dalic then swiftly clarified that facing Argentina was only their “easiest” encounter because there is far less pressure on Croatia’s shoulders. “I didn’t say they’re the easiest opponent. I said this was the easiest game because we have nothing to lose,” he said.  “We’re playing one of the best and this is a challenge for us. This will be a fight between two great teams. I will tell our players to enjoy every minute because they’re playing Argentina and Messi.”Much of the build-up to the match has been dominated by the departure from the camp of Nikola Kalinic, who was sent home after saying he could not come on as a substitute against Nigeria due to a back problem. Dalic thinks it was an unfortunate incident but insists it is firmly behind the squad.”I’m very sorry this happened,” he said. “It’s passed, we’re not dwelling on it. It lasted for two or three hours. Life goes on.”last_img read more