Paine: 'I’m over it and just ready to play'
Ever had to make a phone call when you were so nervous you half-hoped no-one answered?
That was me recently. The man on the other end of the line was Steve Waugh.
He answered in the end and I am glad he did.
I have several pages of notes in the diary I take on tour of the advice he gave me about captaincy and the baggy green cap.
I loved the way Steve captained Australia but I was nervous about contacting him because I had never really known him so the old heart was racing as the phone rang.
The esteem in which the baggy green cap was held was never greater than in the Waugh era.
Steve is in Adelaide watching his son Austin at the Australian under-19s titles and it was great to have him back in the nets on Tuesday.
One of the best pieces of advice Steve gave me was to accept one of the major roles of a captain was to perform as a player.
Just make sure you don't get caught up in all the off-field stuff. Make sure you prepare properly.
We want to see more of our Test greats.
We have a youngish group in terms of Test experience and the more they mingle with past champions the better.
We had Brett Lee, Mike Hussey and Allan Border in for chats in the United Arab Emirates and I am hoping we will see the likes of Glenn McGrath and Matt Hayden and Ricky Ponting and many others dropping in as well.
I was asked whether I ever sit back and laugh at the journey and good fortune I have had over the past year.
I have. It's happened about three times when I have been driving alone in the car, sometimes dropping the kids to day care, and a radio news bulletin comes on with "Australian Test captain Tim Paine said …''
I never chased or needed the captaincy but I am very privileged to be doing it. For me the dream was always just playing for Australia.
Leading it never came in to my thoughts.
The vibe around our side in the build-up to the first Test is one of excitement.
Marcus Harris has added some a cheeky, bubbly presence to a group which is probably quieter to what the traditional Australian groups have been.
As far as managing the ball is concerned, we accept there is no margin for error for us.
We have to be spot on with everything we do with the ball and we will be.
We will be watched closely as we were in Dubai. Every time the ball went around in the field the spotlight was on us.
I have even noticed in Shield cricket the umpires were strong on guys who had chewing gum in their mouths not polishing the ball.
There has been so much talk about what brand of cricket we will play that I'm over it and just ready to play.
At times it has been taken the wrong way. We have never once spoken about being liked. We spoke about gaining the trust and respect of our country and fans.
We are going to play hard, Australian cricket.
We have a different group of people now and a lot of the guys don't play that aggressive style.