T20 World Cup | Countering setbacks, restoring belief, this is more than just a tournament for Pakistan
23 Oct 2021
Australia skipper Tim Paine is striving hard to get back to full fitness before the home Ashes series is scheduled to start early December this year. He underwent surgery on his neck and said that will resume wicketkeeping training from coming Tuesday.
He is working hard to play for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield tournament to assess his recovery from the operation and ensure full match readiness for the series.
"I had a little bit of a hit on the bowling machine (on Thursday)," he told SEN.
"Tuesday next week is pretty much the six-week mark (since surgery), where I can start to look up, which is obviously a key part of wicketkeeping. If I squat down, I need to be able to tilt my head up so I can see the ball coming. Hopefully, I'll get the all-clear on Tuesday and I can start wicketkeeping practice, albeit a pretty low intensity for a week or two.”
"But I'm looking to hopefully play in a second XI game for Tasmania in mid-November and a Sheffield Shield game after that so that will give me a decent lead-in of two or three weeks of proper cricket before the first Test."
The Ashes series holds a monumental place in Paine’s career as this could well be his swansong from international cricket. He would certainly love to leave the international stage on a high, particularly after losing the last home series to India last summer.
Notably, Paine was elevated to the leadership of the Australia Test team in the aftermath of the ball-tampering saga in the Newlands Test between South Africa in 2018. He has led Australia to an Ashes retaining series away from home in 2019 but the series loss to India last summer has somewhat spoilt his legacy and he would be desperate to correct all of that with an Ashes triumph later this year.