Tim Paine is officially the king of banter.
After having a go at India captain Virat Kohli and batsman Rohit Sharma through the Test series, it was the turn of wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant to be at the receiving end of the Australian captain’s quips.
India were in a commanding position in the Melbourne Test after taking a first-innings lead of 292 runs over Australia, before a second-innings collapse by the visitors triggered by Bumrah.
Reeling at 47/5 late on day three, Paine had a go at his counterpart Pant, who hasn’t been picked in the India squads for the One-Day Internationals against Australia and New Zealand, and the T20 Internationals against the Kiwis, which follow the Australia Tests.
When Pant was on strike, Paine said to one of his teammates who was fielding close by:
“Tell you what, if Big MS [Dhoni] is back in the [India] one-day squad, we might get him [Pant] down to the [Hobart] Hurricanes, this bloke. We need a batter.”
Paine, who plays for the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League when he’s not on national duty, then looked towards Pant and said, “Fancy that? You can extend a nice Aussie holiday. Beautiful town, Hobart, too. [We can] get you a nice apartment on the waterfront...
“Do you babysit? I’ll take my wife to the movies one night and you can babysit.”
You can watch the interaction below:
UPDATE: On Tuesday, Paine’s wife Bonnie put up a picture on her Instagram account which had the 21-year-old Pant holding the home captain’s son during an event at the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s residence. Bonnie, who herself posed in the picture, captioned it ‘Best Babysitter’ with a smiling Pant by her side.
Earlier in the Melbourne Test match, Paine had had a go at Rohit when the Indian was batting.
“It’s been a toss up for me between [Rajasthan] Royals and [Mumbai] Indians,” Paine said to Aaron Finch while Rohit was batting. “If Rohit hits a six here, I am changing to Mumbai.” Rohit captains the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
Paine had even targeted Kohli in the Perth Test. When India opener Murali Vijay was batting, Paine said to him, “I know he is your captain, but you can’t possibly like him as a bloke.”
Paine had made the comment after Kohli had a go at him earlier when the Australian captain was batting. Kohli had said, “If he messes it up it’s 2-0, and who’s going to talk then?” Paine had then retorted, “You’ve got to bat first, big head.”