Sydney: Australian captain Tim Paine on Tuesday apologised for his on-field behaviour during the drawn third Test against India here, saying that his leadership wasn't good enough and he ended up "looking like a fool" by sledging Ravichandran Ashwin.
Paine has come under fire for a verbal duel with Ashwin when the Indian held vigil with an injured Hanuma Vihari to eke out a draw for his team, which was chasing a mammoth 407 for a win. Paine said he was "distracted, agitated and a bit grumpy at times" during the game.
"I spoke to him (Ashwin) really quickly after the game yesterday, as I said to him, look I ended up looking a fool, didn't I? You open your mouth and then you drop a catch and had a bit of laugh about that," he said at a virtual press conference, which he wasn't even scheduled to attend.
He said he decided to speak to the media to "address some things" after having defended his behaviour in the post-match presser on Monday.
"...I do want to apologise for the way I went about things yesterday on someone who prides himself on the way I lead this team and yesterday was a poor reflection of that," Paine said.
The 36-year-old wicket-keeper dropped three catches during the match, including of Vihari after the confrontation with Ashwin. Paine conceded that it was the pressure of the game that got to him and that affected his mood.
"My leadership wasn't good enough, I let the pressure of the game, I suppose get to me and it sort of affected my mood and then from there affected my performance," he elaborated.
"So, yesterday when I came off the ground, my reflection was purely on my wicket-keeping...I think I said to my players, I had a really poor game as a leader, not so much as a captain, but certainly as a leader.
"...yesterday I fell short of my expectations and our team's standard," he added.
According to Paine, his behaviour on Monday wasn't a reflection of the way he wants to lead the Australian team.
"So, I want to apologise for the mistakes that I have made yesterday. Certainly, as I said, not a reflection of the way I want to lead this team.
"We have set really high standards over the last 18 months and yesterday was certainly a bit of blip on the radar and something I felt I needed to come out and address," he asserted.
He was on Sunday fined 15 per cent of his match fee for showing dissent to umpire. Paine apologised for his behaviour with the umpires as well.
"Bitterly disappointed with the way I went about it, I felt that my mood throughout probably the whole Test match was probably a little-bit off. The way I spoke to the umpires early on day 2 was also unacceptable.
"So like I said yesterday I want to take that on the chin, it is not the way I want to lead this Australian team, it is certainly not a reflection of how I want to do it going forward," he added.
Paine also admitted that on Monday he fell short of his own standards and expectations in terms of playing the game by certain ethics.
"I always talk to our players about playing this game on skill and not on emotion and yesterday as I said I fell short of my own standards, and own expectations.
"...but at the same time, bit of self-reflection, being able to learn from it, being able to move on after the (Sydney) Test was important.
"I again apologise to our fans and people who heard some of the things I said yesterday, it wasn't good enough particularly from the leader of this team,said Paine, who used an abusive word to unsettle Ashwin during their chatter.
He, however, maintained that the relationship between the two teams remains friendly.
"...there is a healthy respect, it is very competitive, but it is all said and done. The way the spirit of this series is being played 99 per cent of the time it's been excellent. Yes, I had a quick chat with him after the game and everything was fine," he elaborated.
Paine attributed his poor show behind the stumps to his bad mood.
"...for me it was all around my mood, being a little bit tensed and not being focussed on my number one job," he said.
Paine also spoke to head coach Justin Langer after the game. The Australian skipper is now looking forward to the fourth and the final Test in Brisbane, which will start from Friday.
"I am looking forward to getting to Brisbane and bouncing back and playing the game more like Tim Paine plays the game, yesterday was a poor reflection of that, not something that I want to be known for," he signed off.
The fourth Test will be aired on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels, from 5am IST.