Paine could keep Australia Test spot for years, says Ponting
Ricky Ponting presented Tim Paine with his baggy green cap and believes the recalled wicketkeeper could stay in the Test team for years.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes Tim Paine could keep wicket in Tests "for the next few years" following his shock Ashes recall.
Paine, who played four Tests in 2010 before a succession of finger injuries derailed his career, was sensationally named in Australia's squad despite the fact he is not the first-choice wicketkeeper for his state, Tasmania.
Matthew Wade has taken the gloves for Tasmania at the start of the Sheffield Shield season, but both he and Peter Nevill have been overlooked due to their poor form with the bat.
Ponting presented Paine with his baggy green cap seven years ago and believes his former team-mate has what it takes to nail down the Test position he has surprisingly regained.
"I don't think there's ever been any doubt about his wicketkeeping ability, which is the reason why he had never been dropped from the Australian team," Ponting was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia's official website.
"I've said for a long time that he's clearly the best keeper in the country and over the years we've seen glimpses of how good a batsman he actually is.
"The thing about him is, he hasn't actually played that much cricket because of the injuries he's had - two whole years off and then the last few years he's been in and out of the state team as well.
"If he can nail some good performances [in] these first few Test matches then that will obviously secure his spot for the rest of this series. Which could then mean he's Australia’s gloveman for the next few years."
Paine's batting average in first-class cricket is a modest 29 and his solitary Sheffield Shield hundred came in 2006.
However, encouraging innings of 52 for the Cricket Australia XI against England and 71 not out for Tasmania versus Victoria were enough to earn a recall for a player who fell eight runs short of a hundred against India in his previous run of Tests.
"Everyone knows he's talented with the bat, so when he doesn't make those big scores it’s almost a negative against him," added Ponting.
"When he's out there playing well, he looks as good as any of the other batters around the country.
"There’s no doubting there’s a lot of talent there and he's made a Test match 92 before in tough conditions in India, so let's hope he can repay the faith the selectors have shown. I'm sure he will."