Tim Paine’s career rollercoaster gives him dose of perspective

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Australia’s Test captain is keen to play as much cricket as he can for Tasmania in the latter part of the season

It’s unlikely that Tim Paine will be seen with ball in hand over the next few days, but Australia’s Test captain is eager to get back out into the middle for Tasmania with the resumption of the Sheffield Shield having had almost a month to reflect on the series defeat against India.

The 2-1 loss, which finished with India’s dramatic run chase in the final session at the Gabba, has led to a hefty post-mortem of the Test side which is now set to remain in moth balls until the end of the year with the South Africa tour postponed and the World Test Championship final out of their hands.

Paine has debriefed the series with Justin Langer – who himself has come under pressure amid talk of dressing-room tension – and the rest of the coaching staff including as recently as Tuesday. He expected significant fallout which is usually the case when Australia lose at home but believes the ups and downs of his career have helped him.

“I was okay, I knew it was going to come, it’s part and parcel of this job and I’ve seen it with a number of captains before. If you don’t win, the heat’s going to come,” Paine told RSN Breakfast Club. “I’ve been through a lot, seen a lot, actually had my career taken away then given back to me so I things differently to most cricketers.

“I knew it was going to come and most of it is a critique of me as a cricketer and a captain. As long as it’s not a personal attack I couldn’t care less. All that worries me is what my team-mates think and what the staff think and the feedback from them is I’m doing a good job still. I could have done some things differently, no doubt about that, unfortunately you don’t have hindsight out in the middle.”

Paine, who averaged 31.20 in the first part of the Sheffield Shield season which included a third first-class century, will captain Tasmania as their season resumes at home against Queensland with Matthew Wade part of Australia’s T20I squad in New Zealand.

He was with the Hobart Hurricanes squad for the back end of the BBL although did not get a game, but his outing in club cricket recently caught the attention when he sent down medium pace and offspin. “There was a little bit of shape but couldn’t get them on line unfortunately,” he said.

On a more serious note, Paine is keen for as much cricket as he can get domestically in the latter part of the season knowing he faces a long winter of downtime. When Australia’s Test cricket looks likely to resume in December, Paine will have played just nine internationals in two years.

“The Sydney and Brisbane parts [against India] were a bit draining mentally but physically feel great,” he said. “I only played four Tests in however long. If anything I feel like I need to be playing more cricket, I feel like I play much better when I have the consistency of week in week out games so for me to get back into Shield cricket and some one-dayers for Tassie and be consistently playing is exactly what I’m after. Been home now for a few weeks and raring to go again.”

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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