Tim Paine can be Australia's fifth bowler if needed, says fast bowler Brett Geeves
What's the story?
A batsman in the top-6 who can bowl, this is something the Australian team has been doing for decades. A batting all-rounder always gives the captain an option of getting out a few overs when their frontline bowlers need rest.
But, the current Australian team is missing someone who can do that job - someone who can bowl a few overs if needed. However, former Australian pacer Brett Geeves has a shocking name who he thinks can fulfil that role.
According to the former Delhi Daredevils pacer, wicketkeeper Tim Paine is the answer for Australia's pursuit for a batting all-rounder.
“I’ve got the answer. Painey has a gift in that he can deliver the ball seam up and swing it both ways. You might laugh at me, but Painey’s grade bowling performances are very impressive. He got Ben Dunk out in a semi-final a couple of years ago and took another wicket shortly after. Yes, it’s Hobart and yes, the wickets are a little greener. But he does have a knack of taking wickets," Geeves said.
"It’s proven at grade level. It wouldn’t be the worst option because it’s a complete change of pace. He gets them out at about 112kms and he has good control. You’ve got Cameron Bancroft or Peter Handscomb who can keep. It’s actually not the worst option, but obviously, something would seriously need to go wrong for it to happen. He won’t realistically bowl," he added.
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So far in his first-class career, Paine has bowled six overs for 23 runs across three separate innings. He has taken 12 wickets when he was playing grade cricket for University of Tasmania Cricket Club and registered his best bowling figures of 3/28 for them in 2008/09 season.
On the other hand, Brett Geeves has played 127 matches across all three formats for Tasmania and Delhi Daredevils. Out of those 127 matches, two ODIs and a lone T20I were for Australia from 2008 to 2009.
In the past, the Aussies had players like Shane Watson, Mark Waugh, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Marsh, who can give their captain few overs in a Test match. During the last Ashes series at home, Watson played the fifth bowler's role to perfection and bowled 47 overs in the series.
In the current team, the Aussie skipper has just two options for the fifth bowler's role with one of them being himself and his deputy David Warner being the other. He would not prefer to bowl both himself and Warner as they have hardly bowled in international cricket of late.
Yes, Australia will be missing someone who can be their fifth bowler and bowl few overs when needed. The selectors have made a tough call by not including one such player in the XI.
However, it is highly unlikely that the Australians will use Paine as their fifth bowler. I don't see the hosts using more than four bowlers to do the job for them. Even if they are forced into such a situation, skipper Smith is capable of rolling his arm over.