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Paine finally starts batting again

Brydon Coverdale

May 28, 2012

Comments: 31 | Text size: A | A

Tim Paine trains at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, May 28, 2012
Tim Paine is back in training after a long injury lay-off © Cricket Australia
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Tim Paine has conceded he was nervous when he batted in the nets this week after spending nearly a year out of the game with a finger injury. Paine has been chosen as the gloveman for the Australia A tour of England in July and it will give him a chance to prove he can still be an option for Australian selection despite being overtaken by Matthew Wade in the national wicketkeeping queue.

It has been a tough 18 months for Paine, who made his Test debut in 2010 when Australia played Pakistan in England, and retained the position for the tour of India later that year. In November 2010 he broke the index finger on his right hand while batting against Dirk Nannes in an exhibition match and while he was able to play during 2011, he missed the entire 2011-12 summer after breaking the finger again during pre-season training with Tasmania.

But Paine believes the time off has allowed him to heal properly, and he has been training at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane ahead of the Australia A tour. Keeping wicket has not been a problem for Paine during his training but it was only this week that he returned to batting, and he said it would take some time to get used to a new pair of batting gloves designed to give his finger extra protection.

"The finger is going really well," Paine said. "It has been a long 16 or 18 months. I'm glad to be back now ... I've had my first hit against bowlers today and I'm training wicketkeeping more, that's pretty much at 100%. I'll build that up over the next four or five weeks before I head off to England. It's going well.

"I was a bit nervous [when batting]. It's been a long time. I've got some new gloves made up from Kookaburra and Alex Kountouris, the Australian physio, has put even more protection on that. That's something I have to get used to as well, I have to hold the bat slightly differently, because there's a lot of padding and a lot of tape on the fingers. That's something that will take time but I'll get that right over the next month or so."

Paine has plenty of training to catch up on. Not only did he miss all of last summer, he spent hardly any time with the Tasmania squad, given leave by the state coach Tim Coyle to pursue other activities. He said the time off had helped keep his mind fresh and prevented him from trying to return too quickly, which had been a problem when he first broke the finger in 2010.

"Last summer I didn't do a hell of a lot of cricket, I had a bit to do with the Big Bash with the [Hobart] Hurricanes but stayed away from any sort of training and had plenty of time off, away from cricket, away from Bellerive Oval, which was really good," he said. "It's got me in a good frame of mind now, I'm nice and fresh and excited to be back.

"The first one I struggled a bit more because hanging around and wanting to do stuff and not being able to was frustrating. Then every time I'd try to do something it would break again, or something would go wrong. That was frustrating. It was important this time to just get away for four or five months. I didn't even try and pick up a cricket bat or catch a ball in that whole period. I didn't think too much about cricket. I spent a bit of time in Melbourne and had a good time recharging."

But while Paine was recuperating, he remained in the minds of John Inverarity and the rest of the Australian selection panel. Although Paine, 27, has watched his childhood friend Matthew Wade, 24, grab his opportunity in the baggy green and score a Test century against West Indies, a strong summer for Tasmania would ensure Paine was firmly in the frame once again for national selection.

The Australia A squad is set to play two three-day games against Derbyshire and Durham, and two four-day games against the England Lions, in July and August.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by tasliskr on (May 31, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

come on ......we can give a chance 4 peter nevilllll......... he too is competitive wicket keeper

Posted by zenboomerang on (May 31, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

Glad to see Paine getting back now after trying to rush it back into playing in February... Big fan of Paine, but he has basically been out from cricket for 18 mths yet gets the Aust A gig above a fit Nevill, Hartley (&others) - what happened to the Argus report?... As for a future captain in 4-5 yrs time - I can see Warner, Smith, Wade as possible good candidates... Time will tell... Still, if Paine does well for Aust A in Eng I truly wonder if Haddin has any spot left to play in?...

Posted by   on (May 31, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

I believe there is room for both wade and Paine to play for Australia both have enough talent and a strong enough first class record to be there together. Warner Cowan Watson Paine (Pontings replacment in very near future) Clarke M. Hussey Wade being the core batsmen with Bailey back up middle order batsmen and Maddinson back up top order batsmen

Posted by Big-Dog on (May 31, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

Okakaboka ...rubbish. Wade admitted he moved because he had no chance of displacing Paine. As we saw in the West Indies, Wade can't stand up to the stumps for the slow bowlers. As far as batting goes, they are comparable. Wade scored a streaky ton on a friendly pitch but Paine has an ODI ton plus a Test 90 odd. Obviously the selectors still see him as Haddins heir apparent. Wade is good but Paine is better.

Posted by Okakaboka on (May 30, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

@Big-Dog.....Nope....You can't use this argument. How old was Wade when he left Tassie...He was just out of Junior Ranks. Paine is about 3 years older. If you plot Wade's improvement as a keeper, he DEFINITELY will be better than Paine behind the stumps. Paine is not moving forward.....He is out of form...how can he be in form behind the stumps...Has played for ages?....Has he had a Lee...um...no...Siddle...woops he's injured...Pattinson thunderbolt hit his gloves yet? Oh, yes then there's Johnston now...Woops...that'll be 4 byes! The question we really need to consider is...how good will Wade be with the bat? The question of keeping ability is academic. Wade is good enough. Trillion kabillion times better than Haddin and as good if not better than Gilchrist going by the last test. I remember Gilchrist dropping the odd sitter....maybe 2 a series...unlike Haddin with one every innings!

Posted by Moppa on (May 30, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

I'm a Paine fan and hope he does really well on his comeback, but his numbers don't stack up against Wade. He only has one first class century in his entire career (admittedly, a double) - but he wasn't even keeping in that game. Wade already has a Test century plus a handful of other FC centuries and a better average. I think Paine's keeping might be marginally better, but not sufficiently to displace Wade.

Posted by RandyOZ on (May 30, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

@Okakaboka - although I agree with you, drop the Vic hat :P

Posted by RandyOZ on (May 30, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

At his peak probably the second best keeper batsman in the world behind Wade. Looking forward to seeing how he goes before the Ashes.

Posted by Big-Dog on (May 30, 2012, 8:16 GMT)

Gilly4ever ..you have obviously never seen Paine keep. He is by far better than Wade & Haddin. Why do you think Wade left Tasmania to go to Victoria? Paine's comeback can only improve Australia's prospects.

Posted by Meety on (May 30, 2012, 0:59 GMT)

@Gilly4ever - Haddin is a way better batsmen than Paine. Paine is behind several keepers on pure batting terms. I would say Hartley is a better keeper than Wade, & I would argue that Paine is no worse in keeping than Wade, so I don't know on what grounds you say Wade is way better in terms of Keeping. (yes when batting is included).

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Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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