‘Accidental’ Oz captain Paine on verge of Ashes landmark Sep 11, 2019 0 160 12345 afpLondonGreg Chappell could not do it, while Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke, who had both had two attempts each, were unable to manage it either.But if his side avoid defeat in the fifth Test against England at The Oval starting on Thursday, Tim Paine will join the list of Australia captains who have led the team to an Ashes series win in England.It is a feat no Australia captain has achieved since Steve Waugh oversaw a 4-1 success 18 years ago.Waugh, like Chappell, Ponting and Clarke, is one of Australia’s greatest cricketers.No one, least of all wicketkeeper Paine himself, would suggest he is in that class and the way in which he inherited the captaincy was highly unusual.Traditionally, Australia have picked their best 11 players first and then opted for one of them as captain, while in England, where there has long been an emphasis on ‘leadership qualities’, the tendency has been to select the skipper first and then find 10 others to join him.Paine’s case was different. Following the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town in March 2018 that saw Steve Smith stripped of the captaincy and David Warner removed from the post of vice-captain -- with both batsmen subsequently given 12-month bans by Cricket Australia -- officials needed someone uncontaminated by the incident to lead the team and turned to Paine the morning after ‘Sandpapergate’.Paine, who had made his Australia debut in a Test against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2010, had been on the brink of retiring from cricket in 2017 and taking up a job with an equipment manufacturer instead.But having forced his way back into the side, the Tasmanian found himself thrust into the captaincy barely a year later.Ever since becoming skipper, Paine has face accusations that he is both an “accidental” skipper and not worth his place in the side.But having shown dignity after a dramatic one-wicket loss in the third Test at Headingley, Paine had the satisfaction of leading the team to an 185-run win at Old Trafford on Sunday that ensured they retained the Ashes at 2-1 up with just one to play.Scary SmithMuch of the credit will go to Smith, who has so far scored 671 runs at 134.20 with three hundreds, including 211 at Old Trafford, in his first series since his ban.“He is just a genius and I never had any doubt he would come back and be the player he was,” said Paine, who made his Test debut in the same match as Smith.“The scary thing is he’s getting better. I don’t know where it is going to stop but we are enjoying being on the ride, that is for sure.”As for personal satisfaction, the 34-year-old Paine added: “My dream was to come here and win an Ashes. I certainly didn’t want to be the captain winning the Ashes.“I am just happy to be a part of it. I could have been working at Kookaburra so this isn’t bad.” Pages 123 RELATED ARTICLES QSL, coaches meet to discuss development, professionalism Sep 11, 2019 0 340 Qatar aim to improve best-ever fourth place in Asian volleyball Sep 11, 2019 0 341 Abdulla joins French team for 24-hour race Sep 11, 2019 0 421 Bangladesh drop Mehidy, Rubel in tri-series Twenty20 squad AFP Dhaka Bangladesh dropped off-spinner Mehidy Hasan and pace bowler Rubel Hossain in a new-look Twenty20 squad named on Tuesday for the first two matches of the tri-nations series against Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. ..