After going undefeated for the whole of the Big Bash round robin stage, the Melbourne Stars went crashing out in the first semi-final. I’m sure that this was much to the chagrin of Stars president, Eddie Maguire and much to the delight of the Hurricanes captain, Tim Paine.
Tim Paine had found himself in very hot water after a radio interview where he accused the Stars of breaching the salary cap! His remarks included, that the Stars were playing under “another set of rules” and that there was “obviously a never-ending salary cap there that the Stars seem to run by”.
Needless to say, the Stars were apoplectic over these remarks. BBL and CA administrators were none too happy either. Eddie got himself into a right state. “I take the utmost umbrage to this because I live very solidly over 15 years standing against any type of skullduggery in the (AFL) salary cap,” he said. “So if this clown wants to just get up and sprout, then he’s going to cop it right between the eyes. We’ve had enough.”
Paine wisely took an approach that Shane Watson seems incapable of and went onto the back foot. He provided a full apology and explained that his comments had been “a poorly chosen light-hearted remark”. What else could he do? But I’m not buying that explanation.
This is one of those classic proofs of why young sporting stars should not be allowed near social media or microphones of any sort. The old adage is that many a truth is said in jest. Perhaps Tim Paine had no premeditated intention of saying what he said but he must have been thinking it. Or he wouldn’t have said it all. Any radio interviewer worth his salt can get a sportsman talking about subjects that should be avoided.
This added some spice to the final stages of what has been a long Big Bash. And fortunately for Paine, it turned out alright. I’m sure Eddie would have been counting on his lads teaching the little punk a lesson and putting the wind up the Hurricanes. But it was Paine himself leading the successful chase of a modest Stars total. He let his bat do the talking with 65 runs and even Eddie should appreciate that.
But will it be alright for Paine? Before his injury problems, he was a player in favour. He was the elected next, long-term Australian wicket keeper and a possible future captain. That was a while ago. But we must remember that Paine is still young and Haddin, while currently enjoying demi-god status, is not getting any younger. He does not have much more time at the top and Paine should be positioning himself for Haddin’s retirement. Making stupid remarks on air is not too bright. But we shall see.
And while we are considering the end of careers, it seems Kevin Pietersen really is at the end of his career. The England body count continues to grow following a disastrous Ashes campaign down under. The series has claimed Trott, Swann, Flower and now Pietersen. And don’t count on that being the end of it. The ECB has announced that KP is no longer in their plans. He is just 33 years old and that surprises me. But then again, it has been a love hate relationship and perhaps they have been looking for an excuse. Farewell KP – it’s been a fun ride since 2005.