Updated: Aug 15, 2021
Test captain Tim Paine, The Chappell Foundation’s Fourth Annual Dinner special guest,
breathes life into the cliché “refreshing honesty”.
Tim’s straight-back-down-the-pitch approach to cricket and life was captivating.
The 450 dinner guests, who raised around $300,000 for homeless young people, learned that
“totally honest” is Tim’s byword.
“If I’m totally honest, I sh*t myself,” he said of being hustled into the Australian captaincy in
the dark days after the March 2018 Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
Tim revealed he wasn’t asked – he was told – by the Cricket Australia board to replace Steve
Smith, becoming Australia’s 46th Test captain.
“It’s probably lucky I wasn’t asked because I’m not sure I was that keen on it, at the time.”
At that point, Tim was just a handful of Tests back into the national team after seven years
sidelined by competition for the wicketkeeping spot, a finger that kept on breaking, loss of
batting form and finally an inclination to quit first-class cricket.
His previous captaincy experience, with Tasmania in 2010-14, wasn’t much comfort either.
“Totally honest, looking back I was a horrible captain, I was punchy, sort of aggressive
…everything was everyone else’s fault, it wasn’t my fault.”
Tim shared with guests a behind-the-scenes-glimpse of what it was like at the time; how he’d
gone back to an empty hotel room and was staring out the window when his mother walked
They’ve made me Australian captain, he’d told her. Surely it was only for one Test, she
Neither of them could quite believe it.
Three years later Tim stands, as an Ashes-wining captain, in the company of the Chappell
brothers – TCF co-founder Greg and Ian, both at the dinner – and previous Tasmanian Test
captain Ricky Ponting, our 2020 guest speaker.
He explained a plain-spoken, meticulous role in rebuilding a shattered national team and its
relations with the rest of the cricketing community, while learning his way as Test leader.
The captain reads widely on sports leadership and carefully notes what will resonate with his
players but, as to a philosophy of leadership, “I have no idea, if I’m totally honest”.
What Tim does know is that at 36 he’s closer to the end than the beginning but he wants at
least another Ashes series as captain.
“If I feel like the time is right and we’ve beaten the Poms 5-0, what a way to go out.”
He did, however, float the idea of being 110no at the SCG, having chased down a big last
innings total to win the game and seal the Ashes …
If that was the case, he said, he’d probably be feeling good enough to keep going.
Another straight-shooter, Foundation Chairman Darshak Mehta, reminded dinner guests of
the drastic circumstances facing frontline charities supported by TCF.
“The Covid pandemic has seen one of our partners, Taldumande report a 17 per cent increase
in young homeless people requiring help, 51 per cent increase in young people who are
victims of domestic violence and a 101 per cent increase in young people with mental health
“Sadly, Taldumande had to turn away 25 per cent of the young people who requested help,
due to no available beds.”
Guests heard from “CJ”, a young man whose life was a harrowing sequence of neglect, abuse
and homelessness until he was taken in by Burdekin Association.
Burdekin is among seven youth homelessness-focused charities for which TCF has raised a
total $3.5 million in the past four years.
Among the Burdekin people at the dinner was CEO Justene Gordon and president Gill
Lawrence; BackTrack Youth Works founder Bernie Shakeshaft came with chair Greg
Paramor; as did Taldumande Youth Services chair Virginia Howard and CEO Lisa Graham;
Family CEO Terri Said and president Leo Wassercug.
Those are the real heroes in the struggle against youth homelessness, said Darshak.
“We merely raise money. They transform lives”.
TCF fundraising partners Sue and Peter Maloney from Canberra and Matt Brannelly from
Brisbane were also welcomed to the dinner.
Foundation patron and former prime minister John Howard, accompanied by wife Janette,
was a highly popular guest. Former NSW premier Mike Baird came as a Cricket Australia
Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings attended, as did Cricket NSW chair John Knox.
Venues NSW chair Tony Shepherd and CEO Kerri Mather, who have strongly supported the
Foundation dinner through the SCG Trust, were also welcomed.
Past and present cricket champions were in abundance alongside Greg, Ian and Trevor
Current Test fast bowler Josh Hazlewood was backed by former quicks Geoff Lawson and
Brendon Julian. Former keepers Greg Dyer and Phil Emery were also in the room.
Loyal Foundation supporters Louise Sauvage, the Paralympics great, and Peter FitzSimons,
author and former Wallaby lock forward, were there, as was Michael Cheika, former
Wallabies coach and former Socceroo goal-keeper Mark Bosnich.
Darshak said the 2021 dinner had been a remarkable success, given the social distancing
limits on guests and the short preparation time available.
“We badly needed this success because youth homelessness is on the rise, our frontline
partners are under unprecedented stress and our funds to assist were running low.
“We are always grateful to the SCG Trust and Sydney Cricket Ground staff for their
“Above all we thank our donors and supporters who have stuck tight with us through this