Tim Paine will become the first Australian captain to fly back from England with the Ashes since Steve Waugh in 2001. Speaking after the win in Manchester, he offered a heavy nod towards “the best player we’ve seen” for making it possible.
Paine replaced Steve Smith in the wake of last year’s ball-tampering scandal and has looked to restore the tainted public image of the Baggy Green. But the question of how the side’s premier batsman would fare on his return from an enforced 12-month spell out of international cricket remained outstanding.
“Anyone who’s watched him bat know the talent, hunger and skill that he has got. People don’t see how driven he is and how he trains, eats and sleeps batting.
“He is just a genius and I never had any doubt he would come back and be the player he was. The scary thing is he’s getting better. I don’t know where it is going to stop but we are enjoying being on the ride that is for sure", said the Australian skipper.