Former Aussie Test captain Tim Paine likely to return to first-class cricket next week
Former Australian Test skipper Tim Paine is likely to return to first-class cricket when Tasmania face Queensland in a Sheffield Shield game next week. Tasmania coach Jeff Vaughan explained that the keeper-batter was keen to return to action.
Paine last represented Australia in January 2021 and hasn’t played any first-class cricket since April of last last year. The veteran cricketer decided to take a break after stepping down as Australia captain ahead of the 2021-22 Ashes due to the sexting scandal.
Vaughan recalled how Paine spoke to him and the Tasmania CEO about his keeness to return to professional cricket. Vaughan was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo:
“That one sort of popped up from nowhere to be honest. He came and spoke to the CEO and myself one day and said he‘d like to come back and he’s certainly going to play cricket for University. So he’s been training with us most sessions the last five or six weeks. Physically, going well, emotionally going well.”
“I’m sure everyone would agree that we trust his wicketkeeping skill set, his leadership skill set, so he’s up for selection. Like any of our contracted players and like any of our players in Tasmanian premier cricket, he‘s up for selection and one we will certainly speak about.”
The Ashes at home last year was likely to be Paine’s swansong in international cricket. However, he resigned a few weeks before the series as some explicit texts were sent to a former Cricket Tasmania employee in 2017.
Pat Cummins replaced Tim Paine as Australia’s Test captain
Pat Cummins succeeded the keeper-batter as Australia’s Test captain. The right-arm pacer became the first fast bowler to lead Australia in Tests since Ray Lindwall in 1956.
The New South Wales-born cricketer captained them to a 4-0 victory in the Ashes and secured a series win over Pakistan as well. However, the two-Test rubber against Sri Lanka resulted in a draw.
Cummins will hope to propel Australia into the World Test Championship final next year, with the Aussies currently atop the standings.