Tim Paine has picked up six catches in his return to cricket as questions abound about whether the former Test skipper is still the…
On a day where his opening partner Ben Dunk is dispatching the Victorian side to all parts of Blundstone Arena, there must be part of Tim Paine wondering whether or not this is his last chance.
He has played red-ball cricket for his state for more than 10 years, but time may be running out.
Paine is an amazing talent, we all know that. His glove work is excellent when keeping, his batting talent has been known since he captained the Under-19 World Cup team in 2004.
He made his Test debut in 2010 against Pakistan at Lord’s and looked certain to take over from Brad Haddin before injuries not only forced him to miss plenty of cricket but also to slip down the pecking order.
Pain not only lost his spot for Australia, but also for Tasmania – the story has been told many many times. Does he have a future at Tasmania in red-ball cricket or is the best option for both parties to part ways?
His Sheffield Shield form has been in decline for the past 18 months, in his last 19 innings he has made 240 runs at an average of 14.4 with a high score of 41. Now he has been recalled into the side purely as a batsman on the back of some big numbers for University.
The numbers over the past 18 months don’t represent his talent but they also don’t suggest he has many more chances. He has played 84 first-class games with only one century to his name, which certainly doesn’t reflect his batting ability.
To make matters more complicated for Tasmania, they currently have four options behind the stumps with Dunk, Ben McDermott, Tom Triffitt, and Paine. McDermott is 10 years younger than Paine while Triffitt is six years his junior. Given Tasmania have been struggling for a couple of years it makes sense to start building towards the future.
It isn’t all doom and gloom for Paine and Tasmania though. He was excellent in the Big Bash League averaging 34 (second behind George Bailey for Hobart) as an opener and in my eyes should have been picked for the Australian T20 squad.
Paine was one of 11 players to score more than 250 runs in the Matador Cup at an average of 52 as well as finding some form for grade side University over the past fortnight with an unbeaten 92 and 172.
With reported interest from South Australia and playing just as a batsman for Tasmania, both Paine and his current state team have some decisions to make. One thing is for certain, the next five innings could very well decide his future at Tasmania in the longer format.