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Tim Paine has 'target on his back' following Root and Barmy Army comments, insists Matt Prior

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Tim Paine has ‘got a target on his back’ following comments on Joe Root and the Barmy Army ahead of the Ashes, insists Matt Prior… as ex-England wicketkeeper claims they go against Australia captain’s character

  • Tim Paine appeared to show a lack of empathy towards Joe Root this month 
  • The Australia captain also hit back at a Barmy Army tweet of his batting record 
  • But Matt Prior insists those comments may come back to bite him in the Ashes 
  • The ex-England keeper admits ‘everyone gets carried away’ before the series


Tim Paine has potentially made a rod for his own back following his comments about Joe Root and the Barmy Army ahead of the Ashes this winter, according to Matt Prior.

The Australia captain appeared to show a lack of empathy towards his English counterpart, who had not had the protocols they would face Down Under confirmed when Paine was speaking earlier this month.

The 36-year-old wicketkeeper also hit out at a tweet from the Barmy Army that stated if Root scores 80 runs in the first three Ashes Tests, he will overtake Paine’s Test career total with the bat just with his runs in 2021, responding with: ‘I do know I’ve got 1,534 more runs than the Barmy Army, so I’m happy with that.’

Tim Paine (left) has made 'a target on his back' ahead of the Ashes against Joe Root's England, according to Matt Prior

Tim Paine (left) has made ‘a target on his back’ ahead of the Ashes against Joe Root’s England, according to Matt Prior

Paine appeared to show a lack of empathy towards Root (left) with comments this month

Paine appeared to show a lack of empathy towards Root (left) with comments this month

But speaking to bettingexpert.com, former England wicketkeeper Prior said Paine’s comments go against his ‘character’, but acknowledged the leadup to an Ashes series is conducive to ‘everyone getting a bit carried away’.

‘I’ve played against him a few times and he’s a nice guy, so it’s quite surprising to see what he’s been saying because it goes against him as a character,’ Prior – who scored 4099 Test runs for England at an average just above 40 – said. 

‘He’s got a target on his back now. The Barmy Army have already pointed out that Joe Root has almost scored more runs this year than Tim has in his entire career, and those are the things that nobody would have even looked at if Tim Paine doesn’t say the things that he does. 

He then hit back at a tweet from the Barmy Army looking at his Test match batting record

He then hit back at a tweet from the Barmy Army looking at his Test match batting record

‘He’s made them now and he’s got a target on his back, but he’s the Australian captain so he’s always going to have a target on his back. He’ll have his own reasons for doing that. 

‘The Ashes are unique and everyone gets a bit carried away and it can all get a bit ridiculous, it always has and we know how it works. For one captain to show a fair bit of disdain and disrespect to another captain is not what anyone wants to see.’ 

Speaking to SEN Hobart in his native Australia at the start of the month, Paine said: ‘The Ashes are going ahead. The first Test is on December 8 – whether Joe is here or not.

‘It’ll be worked out above us and then they’ll have a choice whether to get on that plane or not.

‘No one is forcing any England player to come. That’s the beauty of the world we live in – you have a choice. If you don’t want to come, don’t come.’

Those comments drew plenty of criticism, including from Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan, who told ABC Sports: ”As a Test match captain, you have to show a bit of empathy. In the last two years, he [Paine] hasn’t taken his team overseas. 

‘He hasn’t had to go through what these England players have gone through. He hasn’t gone through what Joe Root has gone through. 

‘He plays only one format of the game. I do believe he showed a bit of lack of class. I don’t think that went down well with the players. 

Ex-England wicketkeeper Prior (above) believes the comments go against Paine's character

Ex-England wicketkeeper Prior (above) believes the comments go against Paine’s character

‘There is a huge amount of respect between the two sides. And particularly, anyone that’s captain of an international side, I personally think he didn’t need to say what he said.’

Paine’s jibes however did not stop there, as he responded to the Barmy Army’s tweet by saying:  ‘I’d like to say apples and oranges but it’s not even that. 

‘The Barmy Army watch a lot of cricket, you’d think they’d understand the game a little bit better than that.

‘Anyway, what I do know is that I’ve got 1,534 more runs than the Barmy Army, so I’m happy with that. And I think in those four Tests I’ve played in 2021, compared to Joe’s 18, I think I’ve taken more catches so why don’t we tweet that?’

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