If Shane Warne famously insured his rare spinning fingers for millions, then it is difficult to put a price on the premium that might be attached to the right index finger of the Australian captain Tim Paine. Operated on no fewer than seven times due to problems dating back to a bad break in 2010, Paine's digit was struck a stinging blow on the final day of the Adelaide Test by Mohammed Shami.
The blow required treatment from the Australian team physio David Beakley, and the finger, likened to a "Cumberland sausage" by the ABC commentator and Paine's former team-mate Ed Cowan, was significantly strapped before Paine continued.
Watching from the Seven commentary box, Ricky Ponting feared the worst: "Where he's putting that tape on is exactly where he broke his finger, right up in that joint closest to the knuckle, is where he had the bad break. He's had a number of surgeries on it, took him an eternity to get it right, he had titanium plates in it, screws inserted into his finger..."
In the aftermath of Australia's 31-run defeat, Paine refused to concede anything was wrong with the finger, nor could he really afford to. It's not the first time he has grimaced through significant pain to stay on the field as captain - also doing so when he suffered a hairline thumb fracture when keeping up to the stumps to Chadd Sayers in Johannesburg earlier this year. Should Paine be invalided out of the side, the captaincy is an open question.
One vice-captain, Mitchell Marsh, was dropped for this game and the other, Josh Hazlewood would be the first fast bowler to lead since Ray Lindwall led for one drawn Test in India in 1957. After their first ever loss of an opening Test against India at home, the Australia have plenty else on their minds. No wonder all Paine would say was this: "No doubt. I'm fine."
Paine raised one such issue in the form of the DRS, after the many ambiguities surrounding Aaron Finch's dismissal on the fourth afternoon, when he declined to review a marginal call for a pad/glove catch, with the team later being told there would not have been enough evidence to overturn the decision. Equally, a ball-tracking call to overturn an lbw verdict for Nathan Lyon against the impassable Cheteshwar Pujara, based on the bounce of the ball over the stumps, had clearly stuck in Paine's craw.
"It's one of those things. You can't do much about it. We've been told Aaron's for instance would still not have been overturned. Yeah, the DRS is interesting," Paine said. "Aaron felt something on his glove, it ended up being his pad, that can happen. From a bowling and in the field perspective we've got a process we go through with myself and the bowler. Nathan Lyon's at point a lot, he gives us the indication of height. You have to take everyone's piece of information and make good decisions. We got a couple wrong but that can happen.
"I don't want to talk about DRS. It's just - it is what it is. A lot of balls seem to be going over the top of the stumps, I know that, that live don't look like they are. So yeah, it is what it is. Look it's not a perfect system and I haven't got the answers. It's just frustrating, I'd imagine it's frustrating for everyone."
The fortunes of Mitchell Starc have waned considerably in recent months, and he has tallied 12 wickets at 48.66 since his most recent five-wicket haul in Australia's most recent Test victory, over South Africa at Durban in March. Paine, though, countered arguments about some of his more wayward moments in Adelaide by saying that overall the left-armer was gaining in consistency rather than losing. A fiery pitch predicted for the new Perth Stadium from Friday will help, too.
"I think for the majority of the Test, Starcy actually bowled really well," Paine said. "I saw a bit of stuff last night, that people were pretty critical of him. But I think his economy rate for a lot of the Test was really good. He took some wickets. He didn't set the world on fire but I think for a long time there's been a really big gap between Starcy's best and his worst and from what I'm seeing that is getting closer and closer every day. So yeah was he at his best? Probably not, but I still thought he played his role really well and opened up the game for us to be honest at times.
"When Starcy's on song there is no better bowler in the world. Particularly with the new ball and if he can get it to swing, I think in Perth the conditions will suit him down to the ground. I think it will be swing and from what I'm hearing the wicket is going to be really fast. So he'll be a handful."
As for Shaun Marsh, who broke a sequence of 13 innings without passing 50 by making a sure-footed 60 in the second innings, Paine remained firmly behind one of his senior batsman despite his long-established inconsistency.
"I think SOS, we all know how good he is, but I just love the way that he keeps coming when everyone writes him off," Paine said. "He just keeps coming back and turning up and battling as hard as he possibly can and that can be really hard to do when you are always under the pump from you guys and always under the pump from the public and it just shows how strong a character he is and how good a player he is. He's been in great form the last month or so and I think he is really close to cracking a really big score and winning us some games. He'll take some belief out of that."