In his drive to be as fit as possible for the summer, Australia's Test captain Tim Paine has left himself nursing some hamstring tendonitis but confirmed he will be available for Tasmania's opening Sheffield Shield match in Adelaide next week.
Paine, who has spent the winter in Hobart amid the Covid-19 restrictions, revealed he had actually lost a bit too much weight during his fitness push and had been given "free rein" over his eating in recent weeks ahead of the start of the domestic season.
"I did a bit too much running there at one point and I'm carrying a bit of hamstring tendonitis as a result," he told Captain's Call on SEN Radio. "Think I'm getting a bit old, but just tried to get myself very fit and probably ended up going a bit too far and losing a bit too much weight so the last month or so I've been given a bit of a free rein which has been lovely."
Paine is one of a group of Australia's Test players who will feature in the opening rounds of the Shield which will be played in a hub alongside the likes of Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon.
"I'm heading over to Adelaide next week," he said. "Everyone is looking forward to it, getting back on the park for their states and especially for our Test players to be able to prepare with three or four Shield games before such a big series [against India] which I'll be really important for us."
Confirmation of the schedule for India's visit is still awaited but it will involve four Tests from mid-December to mid-January with the series expected to start in Adelaide. With the Afghanistan Test postponed they will be Paine's only international outings of the season and when he might play again remains uncertain with the fate of Australia's scheduled tour to South Africa in February still up in the air.
The members of Australia's limited-overs squad that toured England and did not head to the IPL completed their quarantine period in Adelaide on Friday. The New South Wales players have a little longer to prepare for the Sheffield Shield with the defending champions not beginning their campaign until October 22 against Victoria and they will head to Adelaide on October 18.
"We are hoping Nathan [Lyon] can play all those games, he'll be keen for some cricket after not playing in the UK," New South Wales coach Phil Jaques said. "I think Starcy will want to play a couple of games as well leading into the Tests so we'll see how many we get from those guys. Whatever we get is always a bonus, we always prepare as if we aren't going to have them and then when we do it's great to have them back."