Australia A v England XI, Tour match, Hobart November 7, 2013

Paine glimpses a brighter future

29

A cold, wet Hobart day kept the players for Australia A and England huddled inside their Bellerive Oval changerooms, waiting for the inevitable abandonment that eventually arrived a little after 4pm. It also caused Tim Paine's banged up and arthritic right index finger to feel stiff and sore, a familiar sensation for the wicketkeeper after a saga of breaks and re-breaks that threatened his career.

Paine's finger will never have full feeling or flexibility in it again, but he has learned to deal with the inconvenience as a gloveman and batsman. He has more reason than ever to brave a little discomfort too, as Australia's line of wicketkeeping succession has opened up considerably behind Brad Haddin.

For a time, Paine felt his chance might have passed, as his finger problems coincided with the rise and rise of Matthew Wade. However Haddin's return to take the gloves in all forms of the game has given Paine renewed hope that he will add to the Test matches he played in 2010, in a stint that had appeared to foreshadow a long and fruitful international career for a cricketer of youthful looks but mature countenance.

"I think there is no doubt it has opened up a bit, Brad is obviously the number one but after that who knows, it is about performing," Paine said. "I think whoever does that, and if anything does happen to Brad or he decides to hang them up in the next year or two it will be who is in the best form. That is a good thing for the guys who have probably been back in the order in the last couple of years, it has certainly opened right up."

Paine did not look out of place at all in his four Tests, performing admirably in India where he flirted with a Test century in Mohali and made more runs in Bangalore, all the while keeping wicket with the neatness of a specialist gloveman. However his return home was blighted in the short-lived ACA Allstars fixture against an Australia XI in Brisbane, when a pacy delivery from Dirk Nannes jammed his finger against the bat handle.

He missed most of that summer before resuming prematurely, but two subsequent re-injuries of a digit now bolstered by pins and screws caused enormous pain and considerable doubt about when he might resume. Eventually, it was decided to graft bone from Paine's hip into the finger, which now requires considerable technical adjustments to account for its lack of mobility.

"Basically my hip is my right index finger now, it is probably the strongest part of my body. It is just the movement and jarring and things like that which give me a few issues," he said. "They cut a large chunk out [between the knuckles], went into my hip and pulled a bit of my hip out.

"[Batting] was a big issue coming back, my grip is obviously completely different. Can't really close my bat finger up to the bat and obviously that's how you're taught to hold the bat as a kid. So I found when I came back that I'd middle a ball and it was going nowhere near where I thought it was so that took a little bit of time to adjust but I think I'm really close now to breaking through."

While the finger has been a major hurdle for Paine, it is not his only obstacle. One of the great statistical anomalies of his career is that an innings of 215 for Tasmania as far back as the 2006-07 season remains his only first-class century. Any observer of Paine's sturdy technique and considerable mental strength will find that hard to believe, and so does he, while admitting the drought has started to weigh heavily on his mind.

"In my head it has definitely. I'd like to be scoring a lot more runs and a lot more hundreds," Paine said. "I really felt at the time of the first break that I was on the verge of starting to do that quite consistently and then through a number of things through confidence, to form, to not having played cricket for two years I've really struggled to get back to where I want to be.

"I'm certainly disappointed, I don't hide from that. I haven't done well enough with the bat than my talent should have allowed me to but I think it's more upstairs than anything technical and I think I'm starting to get on top of those confidence issues that arose from what happened with my finger and I'm close to coming out the other end of it."

Paine's feelings of uncertainty were not helped by the state of the Bellerive Oval wicket, or surfaces around the nation in general. The preponderance of result pitches in the Sheffield Shield added to Paine's struggles, but they were no more prominent than on his home turf, where a relaid pitch last summer caused no end of problems for batsmen with its uneven bounce in addition to generous seam movement.

"The thing that really knocked me around here was the up and down bounce," Paine said. "Similar to now I felt I was starting to play reasonably well and get over worrying about being hit, then to play on that pitch at times last year it was right at the front of my mind. I was a bit worried about balls coming forward because they were jumping. I think that threw me a lot , confidence-wise. It looks like it's playing all right now so I'm looking forward to getting a hit in this game."

This game currently has a scorecard showing England 0 for 318, allowing Paine to harbour thoughts of his own large score. Nonetheless, he is committed to maintaining the keeping standards that first helped to get him noticed by the national selectors, and hopes that the former Australia gloveman and selector Rod Marsh will look kindly upon his form.

"I'd like to think they would go back to a wicketkeeper-batsman rather than a batsman-wicketkeeper," Paine said. "At the same time it's going to have to be someone who is scoring runs consistently and I think all wicketkeepers around the country pretty much do their job with the bat . So keeping is always going to be number one, but the Hartleys, Nevills, Wades, they score runs as well so I'm going to have to do the same."

A few runs would not only aid Paine's cause, but also help make that arthritic finger a little easier to ignore.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • featurewriter on November 9, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    The best glove man in the country - by a long, long way - is Chris Hartley. The guy has the best hands in the game. If Australia seriously wanted to select the best keeper, then Hartley would be in before anyone else. The challenge with having someone like Gilly behind the stumps for so long was that we now assess keepers by their batting ability first, and their keeping ability second. Keeping is a specialist role. For what it's worth, my test line-up would be: Rogers, Warner, Clarke, Watson, Smith, White, Hartley, Johnson, Harris, Siddle, Ahmed. I'd have Bailey, Lynn, Lyon, Cutting and Bollinger rounding out the squad (from those guys who are currently fit and available).

  • HenryPorter on November 8, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    The problem with most of the Australian squad these days, and these players in particular, is substandard nicknames. Surely something for Wade like "To Go"or "For Age" would be better than "Wadey" and Paine's would surely have to be either "Butt" or "Neck" or an equivalent. It's been mostly downhill since "Tugga" Waugh and "Bing" Lee - although "Vicious" Sids was OK.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on November 8, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    This does make the decision to have only two guys bat all day on day 1 look a little silly. Even the app on my phone gives accurate weather predictions.

  • Clavers on November 8, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    Hartley is *comfortably* the best keeper in Australia. He has taken 4.54 dismissals per first-class match, Haddin only 3.49.

  • youfoundme on November 8, 2013, 2:01 GMT

    I've seen a bit more of Brad Haddin and Matthew Wade compared to Tim Paine, so it's hard for me to judge. But I'd have to stick with Wade, he looks fairly solid behind the stumps and I think has proven himself to be the better batsmen out of the three. He's still young and his best days are yet to come. Haddin will always be a safe bet, a good player but he's getting on. I suppose you could hand Paine a few more caps to prove his worth, while Wade touches up in domestic cricket. Who knows, he could even solidify a spot.

    With the Ashes coming up though, what's best for Australia is a keeper who is playing to win for his country and team, not for his career.

  • Liquefierrrr on November 8, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    Great to see Paine speak so plainly, he's a fantastic keeper and could show Prior a thing or two about how to actually keep. Not to mention Haddin and Wade on the national circuit.

    We need to learn from England's mistakes - Prior is obviously a batsman who can keep (slightly) better than the average fielder, however his last ashes was dreadful with the gloves (and also the bat) and it'd be great if Aus started picking people who are keepers first.

    Or we could do what England have done and fly in a South African batsman and give hm the gloves and say 'do the best you can, we can't find our own homegrown keeper among the 30+ we have in our county circuit' but that's not the Australian way.

    Paine is a special talent and his road to recovery, whilst painstaking, will be worth the wait. Ever since Gilchrist teams from all over the world have been trying to find an equivalent and it has failed every single team. Prior is no exception to this.

    Paine is a technically pure batsman

  • Shaggy076 on November 7, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    Paine was next cab of the ranks and a deserving test player, however injury and 18 months out of the game has cruelled his chances. He still does not appear at his best so could miss the boat again. We still need him to rediscover the form he had when he was talked about as the next test captain.

  • on November 7, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    I've seen more of Matt Wade than you lot put together and he is a terrible keeper. Tim Paine is a great keeper albeit a different one now that he has had yo change his style. His batting will get better but I would like the selectors to pick the best keeper rather that keeper/batsman.

  • Wefinishthis on November 7, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge is actually right. It IS groundhog day for us Aussie fans as the first test will likely go back to Johnson and 'haus. So yes we are tired of these undeserving players being outclassed by England. I'm honestly starting to think that there's a sabotage conspiracy in selection to keep Australia underperforming. Is there ANYONE in the world (besides Australia's selectors) who honestly thinks that Beer, Doherty, Maxwell or Agar are better spinners than O'Keefe? Why talk of Haddin/Wade/Paine and none of Peter Nevill? Why drop Faulkner after a great England performance? Why did it take so long to select Rogers&Harris when all the fans who know better than the selectors were screaming for them years ago? A better team would be Rogers, Warner, Cosgrove, Clarke, Smith, Silk, Nevill, O'Keefe, Pattinson, Harris, Bird 12th Faulkner. Unfortunately with injuries, Sayers and Sandhu will be overlooked for the inconsistency of Johnson&Siddle and the new-ball-waster 'haus.

  • TheBigBoodha on November 7, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    What a load of tosh, innocentsandy! Although Australia is ranked second, it probably has the best ODI team when all players are available, and they were winning plenty of tests before the Indian tour - just a little more than 6 months ago. One bad day for Australia A does not a summer make. The England Lions lost all seven games when playing Australia A last season. But that was a real Australia A team, whereas this is a very weakened one, especially in bowling.

  • featurewriter on November 9, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    The best glove man in the country - by a long, long way - is Chris Hartley. The guy has the best hands in the game. If Australia seriously wanted to select the best keeper, then Hartley would be in before anyone else. The challenge with having someone like Gilly behind the stumps for so long was that we now assess keepers by their batting ability first, and their keeping ability second. Keeping is a specialist role. For what it's worth, my test line-up would be: Rogers, Warner, Clarke, Watson, Smith, White, Hartley, Johnson, Harris, Siddle, Ahmed. I'd have Bailey, Lynn, Lyon, Cutting and Bollinger rounding out the squad (from those guys who are currently fit and available).

  • HenryPorter on November 8, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    The problem with most of the Australian squad these days, and these players in particular, is substandard nicknames. Surely something for Wade like "To Go"or "For Age" would be better than "Wadey" and Paine's would surely have to be either "Butt" or "Neck" or an equivalent. It's been mostly downhill since "Tugga" Waugh and "Bing" Lee - although "Vicious" Sids was OK.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on November 8, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    This does make the decision to have only two guys bat all day on day 1 look a little silly. Even the app on my phone gives accurate weather predictions.

  • Clavers on November 8, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    Hartley is *comfortably* the best keeper in Australia. He has taken 4.54 dismissals per first-class match, Haddin only 3.49.

  • youfoundme on November 8, 2013, 2:01 GMT

    I've seen a bit more of Brad Haddin and Matthew Wade compared to Tim Paine, so it's hard for me to judge. But I'd have to stick with Wade, he looks fairly solid behind the stumps and I think has proven himself to be the better batsmen out of the three. He's still young and his best days are yet to come. Haddin will always be a safe bet, a good player but he's getting on. I suppose you could hand Paine a few more caps to prove his worth, while Wade touches up in domestic cricket. Who knows, he could even solidify a spot.

    With the Ashes coming up though, what's best for Australia is a keeper who is playing to win for his country and team, not for his career.

  • Liquefierrrr on November 8, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    Great to see Paine speak so plainly, he's a fantastic keeper and could show Prior a thing or two about how to actually keep. Not to mention Haddin and Wade on the national circuit.

    We need to learn from England's mistakes - Prior is obviously a batsman who can keep (slightly) better than the average fielder, however his last ashes was dreadful with the gloves (and also the bat) and it'd be great if Aus started picking people who are keepers first.

    Or we could do what England have done and fly in a South African batsman and give hm the gloves and say 'do the best you can, we can't find our own homegrown keeper among the 30+ we have in our county circuit' but that's not the Australian way.

    Paine is a special talent and his road to recovery, whilst painstaking, will be worth the wait. Ever since Gilchrist teams from all over the world have been trying to find an equivalent and it has failed every single team. Prior is no exception to this.

    Paine is a technically pure batsman

  • Shaggy076 on November 7, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    Paine was next cab of the ranks and a deserving test player, however injury and 18 months out of the game has cruelled his chances. He still does not appear at his best so could miss the boat again. We still need him to rediscover the form he had when he was talked about as the next test captain.

  • on November 7, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    I've seen more of Matt Wade than you lot put together and he is a terrible keeper. Tim Paine is a great keeper albeit a different one now that he has had yo change his style. His batting will get better but I would like the selectors to pick the best keeper rather that keeper/batsman.

  • Wefinishthis on November 7, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge is actually right. It IS groundhog day for us Aussie fans as the first test will likely go back to Johnson and 'haus. So yes we are tired of these undeserving players being outclassed by England. I'm honestly starting to think that there's a sabotage conspiracy in selection to keep Australia underperforming. Is there ANYONE in the world (besides Australia's selectors) who honestly thinks that Beer, Doherty, Maxwell or Agar are better spinners than O'Keefe? Why talk of Haddin/Wade/Paine and none of Peter Nevill? Why drop Faulkner after a great England performance? Why did it take so long to select Rogers&Harris when all the fans who know better than the selectors were screaming for them years ago? A better team would be Rogers, Warner, Cosgrove, Clarke, Smith, Silk, Nevill, O'Keefe, Pattinson, Harris, Bird 12th Faulkner. Unfortunately with injuries, Sayers and Sandhu will be overlooked for the inconsistency of Johnson&Siddle and the new-ball-waster 'haus.

  • TheBigBoodha on November 7, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    What a load of tosh, innocentsandy! Although Australia is ranked second, it probably has the best ODI team when all players are available, and they were winning plenty of tests before the Indian tour - just a little more than 6 months ago. One bad day for Australia A does not a summer make. The England Lions lost all seven games when playing Australia A last season. But that was a real Australia A team, whereas this is a very weakened one, especially in bowling.

  • on November 7, 2013, 21:24 GMT

    So Haddin is a better wicket keeper because he took more catches!!!! Maybe Laurence Olivier is a better actor than John Gielgud because he had more stage appearances

  • wellrounded87 on November 7, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    Mitty i think you spelled Hartley's name wrong. Because he's easily the best gloveman in the country and should be Australia's first choice keeper.

  • on November 7, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    lets just have a look at that shal we FFL, in last ashes Haddin had 29 catches and scored 206 runs @ 22.88 Prior had only 19 catches and 133 runs @ 19 Numbers dont lie, but you keep dreaming away there champ

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 7, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    This Ashes is starting to feel like groundhog day for Australia. Oz fans are surely tired of seeing their team constantly outclassed in all facets of the game, wicketkeeping being just one of those. Wade, Haddin, Paine all have long proven to be inferior to Prior. Oz had better start looking around the shield for the 'next bradman' of wicketkeeping!

  • Mitty2 on November 7, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    @pontius pilate lol Wade threw his wicket away all the time. And he does so a lot for Vic. Literally the amount of times he gets out hooking when he hasn't made 10 runs yet is unbelievable. Wade lost us the Adelaide test and was a source you can directly blame (although that would be taking away from a memorable and wonderful knock from Faf), he made the SL tests closer than what they should be, and although both he and Dhoni were dreadful with the gloves in India, he yet again destroyed all of Lyon's confidence. Haddin certainly has done the odd ridiculous shot (vs NZ at Hobart and SA at Cape Town), but there's no way in the world he's a worse keeper than Wade. Also, we'd only lost two tests since the Ashes by the time summer finished and everyone was still bagging Wade... Not a downward spiral. He should stick to batting and stop stealing Handscomb's place as keeper/

  • innocentsandy on November 7, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    Very Unfortunate. Australia have few very talented folks who have played least for the country. Mathew Elliot,Greg Blewett, Brad Hodge and now Tim Paine. This at a time when they require the best to be on field. They are struggling at present and would love to have more option to choose from.

    Sad to see Australia struggling the way it is. I never thought I would say this of Australia , the same way we speak about West Indies. Hopefully they will turn things around.

  • Mitty2 on November 7, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    RU4REAL, that's the sort of comment I'd write, you're progressing on nicely. What's worse is that as a Vic fan and going to watch yesterday he looked pretty clueless as captain. The problem is is that Wade has two test centuries, and the likes of Smith, Rogers and Cowan have only scored 1 and the rest apart from Clarke around 3. We may see the return of our response to Akmal soon. Lyon won't be happy.

    @landl47, point on age is true, but Haddin apart from Lord's kept tremendously and has kept his form with the gloves in India. He had a far better series than Prior anyway. Surely breaking a world record means he's doing something right, but then again it is the bowlers who create the chances. And his Ashes record is good and he's an alright leader as far as I'm concerned... But his batting form's pretty poor

  • Narkovian on November 7, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Is this an Aussie plot? ! First ENG forced to play in Hobart, where the conditions are different from most of AUS. Secondly they turn up with a pretty poor side. Good net practice I suppose? Thirdly the weather looks like another day of rain today. Possibly play on Sunday. Looks like a fairly wasted week ( except for Carberry !) If I was Cook I'd just bat to the end of the match !

  • landl47 on November 7, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    Before his finger problems, Paine looked set for a long run as Australia's WK. It's a pity for him and for Australia that it didn't happen. He's certainly a better keeper than Wade (and also than Haddin) and his batting was at least adequate.

    Unless they play international cricket, those of us outside Australia don't see the domestic candidates so I can't comment on Hartley and Nevill. However, with Haddin now 36, someone will have to step up soon.

  • First_Drop on November 7, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer - I'm not sure there is much in this match for England. It's not a weak attack, but it does lack depth, and it's certainly nowhere near test strength. And the decision to bat on without allowing their other bats to get to the wicket was a poor one. With the excpetion of Bell, the other chaps are not going to be helped by a 'quick knock'. Australia A, on the other hand, have almost nothin to lose - no one is going to be overly worried if they get beaten, but that's unlikely to happen with only 2 days remaining and England keen to get some more time in the middle. And if the Enlgish midfdle order go out and get knocked over cheaply, that's only going to reduce their confidence. Now, with questions being openly asked about Root and Trott, and with Carberry likely to make his 2nd 'test debut', and the 3rd seamer spot still unclear, there are plenty of problems for England. Can't wait for the first test...

  • on November 7, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    Paine is a quality batsmen & much better than both Haddin & Wade with the gloves but his failure to post big scores with bat at F/C level are going to work against him. It's always been a surprise that Hartley is rarely seriously considered as a Test keeper.

    For an option out of left field (mainly as a short format keeper) don't write off Tim Ludeman. He certainly doesn't have the batting record yet but his improvement during the 12/13 season in that regard was noticeable (mainly in BBL/Ryobi but also in Shield). He could put pressure on the others for the 50 over & T20 spot if he continues to improve and Haddin hangs around for a few couple more series.

  • on November 7, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    Unfortunately for Paine he may have missed his chance for a while. I think the selectors still have confidence that Wade can take over from Haddin again in Tests when needed. Anyone who has watched a lot of Wade play F/C level knows he's not as bad with gloves as some make out. His glove errors at international level are overplayed. Haddin (who I admire as keeper) makes as many errors as Wade. When Wade did make a few errors with gloves it was at a time when everyone wanted scapegoats for Australia's downward spiral. He was one. Haddin made a heap during the recent Ashes series too (as Gilly also used to) but he didn't cop the abuse Wade endured. Wade could potentially also be a better test batsmen than Haddin. Wade already has a test ave of 35 & F/C ave of 40 (both slightly higher than Haddin). Haddin is very good but has a tendency to throw away his wicket with loose shots. Wade's temperament is suited to test batting more than Haddin's even if Haddin is more explosive.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 7, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    @Selassie-I If I were an Australian I would worry more about England turning up tonight, giving Pietersen, Root, Balance and Prior a quick knock and then having ideal bowling conditions to get at the Australia A batting. When it is 318-0 I am not sure that lowering grey skies are the greatest news for the fielding side.

  • Heisenburg on November 7, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    Hartley > Haddin > Nevill > Wade > Paine

  • Selassie-I on November 7, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    Unbelievable - Cricket Australia organizing rain in their efforts to deny the valiant English any meaningful practice.

  • xtrafalgarx on November 7, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    I'm warming to Paine. Wade looks good for a while, but his is the sort of player who Plateau's in stages. His game has stopped improving and he doesn't look like he's getting any better.

    Paine's a better Keeper and a better leader, he may not have the record with the bat but he is reliable enough. If you are a keeper you should be a gloveman before anything else anyway.

  • milepost on November 7, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    Might have to agree with r u 4 real nick, I hate to single out an Aussie player but Wade's keeping won't justify him a place in the side. Haddin might not be the future but he is the present and I need not point out that is where the current series will be played. Paine is a good keeper. Remember Prior was useless with the gloves but he worked hard and is now a very good keeper. Wade just hasn't come on like we would have liked.

  • HatsforBats on November 7, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    A nice dig at Wade at the end. Considering some of the performances that Hartley & Neville have put up in the last few seasons it's even more baffling how Wade managed to wedge his clumsy fingers into the Aussie keepers gloves. Personally I would like to see us go back to seeing the best gloveman get selected (within reason, can't bat at 11). I remember the fog receding from my eyes when Manou replaced Haddin, just imagine if it was Paine and not Wade at Adelaide last year.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 7, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    "The rise and rise of Matthew Wade..." What rise and rise? He's right up there with Kamran Akmal as possibly one of the worst international wicket-keepers of all time, and with Australia's depleted supply of batsmen could maybe be slotted into the test team as lower order batsman only. It's hard to say what's been the biggest pain for Paine: his finger or having to watch a 'sort-of-batsman' wearing gloves pretend to be wicket-keeper, and almost single-handedly ruin the career of Lyon.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 7, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    "The rise and rise of Matthew Wade..." What rise and rise? He's right up there with Kamran Akmal as possibly one of the worst international wicket-keepers of all time, and with Australia's depleted supply of batsmen could maybe be slotted into the test team as lower order batsman only. It's hard to say what's been the biggest pain for Paine: his finger or having to watch a 'sort-of-batsman' wearing gloves pretend to be wicket-keeper, and almost single-handedly ruin the career of Lyon.

  • HatsforBats on November 7, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    A nice dig at Wade at the end. Considering some of the performances that Hartley & Neville have put up in the last few seasons it's even more baffling how Wade managed to wedge his clumsy fingers into the Aussie keepers gloves. Personally I would like to see us go back to seeing the best gloveman get selected (within reason, can't bat at 11). I remember the fog receding from my eyes when Manou replaced Haddin, just imagine if it was Paine and not Wade at Adelaide last year.

  • milepost on November 7, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    Might have to agree with r u 4 real nick, I hate to single out an Aussie player but Wade's keeping won't justify him a place in the side. Haddin might not be the future but he is the present and I need not point out that is where the current series will be played. Paine is a good keeper. Remember Prior was useless with the gloves but he worked hard and is now a very good keeper. Wade just hasn't come on like we would have liked.

  • xtrafalgarx on November 7, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    I'm warming to Paine. Wade looks good for a while, but his is the sort of player who Plateau's in stages. His game has stopped improving and he doesn't look like he's getting any better.

    Paine's a better Keeper and a better leader, he may not have the record with the bat but he is reliable enough. If you are a keeper you should be a gloveman before anything else anyway.

  • Selassie-I on November 7, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    Unbelievable - Cricket Australia organizing rain in their efforts to deny the valiant English any meaningful practice.

  • Heisenburg on November 7, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    Hartley > Haddin > Nevill > Wade > Paine

  • CricketingStargazer on November 7, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    @Selassie-I If I were an Australian I would worry more about England turning up tonight, giving Pietersen, Root, Balance and Prior a quick knock and then having ideal bowling conditions to get at the Australia A batting. When it is 318-0 I am not sure that lowering grey skies are the greatest news for the fielding side.

  • on November 7, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    Unfortunately for Paine he may have missed his chance for a while. I think the selectors still have confidence that Wade can take over from Haddin again in Tests when needed. Anyone who has watched a lot of Wade play F/C level knows he's not as bad with gloves as some make out. His glove errors at international level are overplayed. Haddin (who I admire as keeper) makes as many errors as Wade. When Wade did make a few errors with gloves it was at a time when everyone wanted scapegoats for Australia's downward spiral. He was one. Haddin made a heap during the recent Ashes series too (as Gilly also used to) but he didn't cop the abuse Wade endured. Wade could potentially also be a better test batsmen than Haddin. Wade already has a test ave of 35 & F/C ave of 40 (both slightly higher than Haddin). Haddin is very good but has a tendency to throw away his wicket with loose shots. Wade's temperament is suited to test batting more than Haddin's even if Haddin is more explosive.

  • on November 7, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    Paine is a quality batsmen & much better than both Haddin & Wade with the gloves but his failure to post big scores with bat at F/C level are going to work against him. It's always been a surprise that Hartley is rarely seriously considered as a Test keeper.

    For an option out of left field (mainly as a short format keeper) don't write off Tim Ludeman. He certainly doesn't have the batting record yet but his improvement during the 12/13 season in that regard was noticeable (mainly in BBL/Ryobi but also in Shield). He could put pressure on the others for the 50 over & T20 spot if he continues to improve and Haddin hangs around for a few couple more series.

  • First_Drop on November 7, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer - I'm not sure there is much in this match for England. It's not a weak attack, but it does lack depth, and it's certainly nowhere near test strength. And the decision to bat on without allowing their other bats to get to the wicket was a poor one. With the excpetion of Bell, the other chaps are not going to be helped by a 'quick knock'. Australia A, on the other hand, have almost nothin to lose - no one is going to be overly worried if they get beaten, but that's unlikely to happen with only 2 days remaining and England keen to get some more time in the middle. And if the Enlgish midfdle order go out and get knocked over cheaply, that's only going to reduce their confidence. Now, with questions being openly asked about Root and Trott, and with Carberry likely to make his 2nd 'test debut', and the 3rd seamer spot still unclear, there are plenty of problems for England. Can't wait for the first test...