Australia are upbeat Paine will be cleared to resume training by the end of this month, and that he may be able to squeeze in at least one Shield game before linking up with the Test squad.
The Ashes are slated to start on December 8, giving the 36-year-old plenty of time to prove his fitness for the Gabba series opener.
However, any form of setback could cast doubt on Paine’s prospects of facing England.
Paine, who required seven rounds of surgery to repair a recurring finger injury that started in 2010 and threatened to end his career, has demonstrated plenty of stoicism in recent years.
But it is understood his current neck issue requires an operation.
Paine and teammates haven’t played a Test since suffering an unforgettable loss to India at the Gabba in January.
Australia are scheduled to host Afghanistan in a one-off Test, starting November 27 in Hobart, but that match is set to be scrapped because the Taliban’s stance regarding women’s sport.
Cricket Australia is likely to schedule an alternate Ashes tune-up but it remains unclear whether it will be an intra-squad contest, tour game involving England, or replacement Test.
“The consensus of the spinal surgeon and the CA medical team was to have the surgery now which will allow plenty of time to fully prepare for the summer,” Paine said in a statement.
“I expect to be able to restart physical activity by the end of this month and be back in full training in October. I will be ready to go by the first Test and am very much looking forward to what will be a huge summer.”
A nervy Australian run-chase after an outstanding bowling performance saw them creep over the line for a final over five-wicket victory over South Africa to begin their T20 World Cup campaign. Playing just his 18th T20I, player of the match Josh Hazlewood’s 2/19 off his four overs – including just one run conceded from his […]