Australia news August 29, 2011

Paine in doubt for start of season

ESPNcricinfo staff

Tim Paine, Australia's backup wicketkeeper, is in doubt for the start of the summer after breaking his finger at training last week. According to a statement from Cricket Tasmania, Paine, the state's vice-captain, broke his right index finger, the same finger he fractured last November during the Australian Cricketers' Association All-stars game.

Although the injury does not require surgery, Paine will be out of action for at least four to six weeks, and is in doubt for Tasmania's first match of the home summer, against Western Australia on October 11. Paine's injury came as Australia's first-choice gloveman, Brad Haddin, struggled for batting form in the recent one-day series in Sri Lanka.

Haddin began the series opening with Shane Watson but was demoted to the lower middle order after he failed to have any impact, and he was especially unconvincing against the spin of Ajantha Mendis. At 33, Haddin hopes to have several years of international cricket left in him, but he can't afford a lengthy form slump.

Paine, 26, who holds a Cricket Australia contract, has impressed during his four Tests and 26 one-day internationals. He is seen as a future leader, and captained Australia A during their winter tour to Zimbabwe this year.

His injury means that should Haddin have any fitness troubles during the ongoing tour of Sri Lanka, the Australians would most likely send for the young Victoria gloveman Matthew Wade, or the Queensland veteran Chris Hartley.