Prime Minister's XI v England XI, Canberra January 9, 2011

Paine set for captaincy test


Tim Paine is ready to take his next step towards being a potential Australia captain when he leads the Prime Minister's XI against England in Canberra on Monday. Paine has already been named vice-captain for the Twenty20 squad next week and is being touted as a contender to guide a new generation of Australian cricket after their Ashes drubbing.

Michael Clarke remains likely to have a run at the top job once Ricky Ponting leaves - either by his choice or the selectors' - having taken the reins for the final Ashes Test at the SCG when Ponting was injured. However, Paine, 26, is being earmarked for the honour after making a positive start to his international career at Test and one-day level.

He has endured an injury-hit season after breaking his finger in the All Stars Twenty20 match at the Gabba in November. Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said he was keen to assess Paine's captaincy but the man himself isn't getting carried away.

"I think it probably is a bit of an audition, but as I've said in the past couple of days that's probably a long way away for me at the moment," Paine said. "I'm just purely concentrating on the next few weeks, getting back into cricket and whatever happens down the track happens. But if I can get myself into a position to play enough cricket for Australia even to be considered for that job then that would be fantastic, but as I said that's a long way off."

Paine's first challenge will be to secure a position across all formats for Australia, which means either getting past Brad Haddin or playing alongside him. Haddin has been left out of the Twenty20 team, but was one of Australia's few successes in the Ashes with 360 runs at 45 so his Test future is secure. However, the one-day squad to face England will be named next week and the choice of wicketkeeper will give another indication into the future of Australian cricket.

One suggestion has been that Paine plays as a specialist batsman even though he only averages 31.03 in first-class cricket. But a Test-best 92 against India showed his potential and Paine suggested it would be a role he'd be open to if it meant a place in the Test line-up.

"If that happened then I think I probably could [handle it]. I think I showed that in India. I think my batting is up to Test level at some stage, whether that's now or in the near future I'm not too sure," he said. "Brad's still the number one keeper in all formats. He's just come off a good Ashes series himself. Any role I can get to play in the Australian team I'll grab with both hands."

Australia have not won a series in any format since the New Zealand tour last March, with their World Twenty20 final the high point, and the time has come where a number of youngsters, like Paine, could be given their chance to help rebuild the side.

"It's very important for a lot of people in Australian cricket with what's just happened. There's obviously going to be some opportunities coming up," Paine said. "It's up to me to prepare myself as well as I possibly can and if I'm lucky enough to be in that 15 for the World Cup, or something happens to Brad, or if I can play in a role as a batsman then I've got to be ready to grab it."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lalith on January 10, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    "I want to keep playing," Ponting said. "I still believe I am one of the best six batters in Australia. If you are 6th best in Aus right now with average 16.14 in the Ashes, we can imagine 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th batters. GOD BLESS Aussie Cricket !!!

  • Anshuman on January 10, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    What Australia need is to learn a lesson from India, they picked a fresh side with all young guns raring to show their worth kids in their early 20s in the 2007 world cup. It was truly remarkable this is what is needed now. A brand new team a brand new captain a total new look side and a lot of faith

  • Harvey on January 10, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    I would question his captaincy given that he continued to bowl Christian after his first 3 overs which already cost 30 runs and then his next 3 overs still went for 10 an over

  • Harvey on January 10, 2011, 0:27 GMT

    Isn't it a lot of pressure to put on a young player saying he is future captain? Has it gotten to Clarke after the same was said with him at an early age? Haddin should be test captain after Ponting until another is ready

  • Mark on January 9, 2011, 22:36 GMT

    nineteenineteen is on the button, By Ashes productivity, Hadden is our sedond or thrid best bastman, He should be in as specialist batsmen, In the field i guess slips would be best spot, not too sure about his arm. For this to work though you need to drop clarke or ponting, prefferably both

  • Allan on January 9, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    The standard has been set by Gilly. Why do we want a keeper that averages 35? I guess the same reason we put in bowlers with "potential" that average 45. How can anyone think players will do better in Test scene than Domestic? Specialist batsmen have to average 50 to be any chance of having a future.

  • Wing on January 9, 2011, 20:42 GMT

    So Tim Paine is an allrounder - he captains and he bats a bit. My view is unless his bowling or batting is up to test standard, he should not be included in the Australian test team.

  • Satish on January 9, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    Tim Paine is for sure a future prospect if handled properly. Probably he can be given a full run in the T20s & ODIs since Brad Haddin is into 30s. I wouls say untill Brad Haddin stays can play as a specialist batsman with Tim Paine behind the wickets. A real good talent he is.

  • Dominic on January 9, 2011, 17:46 GMT

    Back to basics. Pick the strongest 11 and the captaincy follows. It's normally pretty straightforward to captain a strong team. There's no future picking players like Smith who might develop in2/3 years based merely on potential. The only question here is whether Paine is worth his place in the team now on merit.

  • John on January 9, 2011, 13:51 GMT

    Paine looks a good keeper and a player with a good temperament. He has to become an automatic selection at test level before being tried as captain. Wicketkeepers already have so much to do that being captain as well is a huge load. Even Sangakkara has given up keeping at test level to concentrate on batting and captaincy. Dhoni's doing a good job, but I can't think of many other successful keeper/captains.

  • No featured comments at the moment.