Paine's criticism an absolute joke, says Handscomb

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Melbourne, Jan 21 (PTI) Out-of-favour Australia batsman Peter Handscomb on Thursday threw his weight behind beleaguered Test skipper Tim Paine, describing his criticism for the Test series loss against India as 'an absolute joke'.

Paine has received a lot of flak for his wicketkeeping and captaincy after an injury-hit India scripted an incredible come-from-behind victory in the four-Test series by winning the decider in Brisbane by three wickets, barely a month after the humiliation in Adelaide.

'I can't believe the fallout from this Test is his captaincy, that's just an absolute joke,' Handscomb told reporters.

Several former players, including wicketkeeper-batsman Ian Healy and England's Kevin Pietersen, were critical of Paine's captaincy.

'The poor guy's batting beautifully, making some good runs, taking the game on and leading with that intent, which is really good to see,' said the 29-year-old Handscomb, whose last Test for Australia was the Sydney game against India in 2019.

'For it to come down to some perceived captaincy ideas is ridiculous. The whole team's there and everyone's trying to do their best … it's a bit of a joke that the takeaway seems to be his captaincy.' PTI ATK AH AH