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Paine to head into Ashes without a first-class match

Australia skipper won't play in Tasmania's Shield clash against WA; will instead play club cricket and in Tasmania's Second XI against South Australia

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Tim Paine's last competitive game was in April before he had his neck surgery  •  Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Tim Paine's last competitive game was in April before he had his neck surgery  •  Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Australia captain Tim Paine is set to go into the Ashes series without a first-class fixture under his belt but he is set to play club cricket and second XI cricket for Tasmania over the next week before Australia's intra-squad clash in Brisbane ahead of the Gabba Test.
Paine is recovering from neck surgery he had in September and has not played at all yet this summer. His last competitive game was in April.
He was hopeful of playing up to four full matches, including a Shield game, before the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in December.
Rain last week washed out any hopes of playing for his club side University of Tasmania. He is now set to play on the first day of their clash with South Hobart Sandy Bay on Saturday, but he won't take part in Tasmania's Shield clash against Western Australia, starting on Sunday.
He will instead play in Tasmania's Second XI team in a four-day game against South Australia which is scheduled to begin on Monday. Paine will also have the chance to play in the intra-squad clash in Brisbane starting on December 1.
Australia's chairman of selectors George Bailey was not concerned about Paine's preparation.
"Just get some cricket under his belt, which we're really confident he's going to get back this weekend," Bailey said on Wednesday. "And I think from all reports, surgery has gone really well. He's feeling really, really confident. I think they've actually had to hold him back a little bit in the last couple of weeks to make sure the actual healing process has gone well and now it's just a matter of actually getting some game time under his belt, so he's really confident and really excited to be leading the team come the first day at the Gabba."
Paine will turn 37 on the opening day of the Ashes series and told SEN last week that he has not given any consideration to his future beyond this summer.
Alex Carey and Josh Inglis have both been named in the Australia A squad on Wednesday but Alex Carey is expected to be the second wicketkeeper in the intra-squad match and the Australia A wicketkeeper, and possibly captain, for the England Lions game starting in December. Inglis is set to play as a batter given he was part of the group that was required to do 14-day quarantine on the way back from the T20 World Cup in the UAE and is likely to head back to Perth Scorchers for the start of the BBL.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo