Tim Paine - Australia's solution for a long term wicketkeeper
For a player considering retirement and almost having secured a job with cricket bat manufacturer Kookaburra, never in his dreams would an international call-up have propped up, but reality went far beyond his dreams.
Tim Paine got selected for the Ashes as a wicketkeeper replacing the out-of-favour Matthew Wade.
He had not even represented his stateside for about six months from the date of selection but that didn't bother the selectors.
Along with him, veteran Shaun Marsh was also selected and the selectors were under scrutiny.
The 33-year-old made his debut in a test against Pakistan in 2010. He scored seven runs off 55 balls in the first innings and scored a match-winning knock of 47 not out in the second.
He was appreciated for his flawless glove work. But soon he had to make way for Brad Haddin due to a fractured finger. Paine was never considered again by the team until 2017.
But his batting statistics in Tests are very eye-catching. Out of the 11 tests he has played so far, he has scored 582 runs with an impressive average of 38.80.
Also, he had to perform well to be in the reckoning of the selectors for a long time. He represented Australia after a massive gap of seven years.
It was the first test of the Ashes and he dropped a sitter of James Vince in the first test and he came under the scanner of critics.
Since the drop, he had never failed again and executed his job perfectly. Paine was greatly applauded for his wicketkeeping and batting down the order.
He has consistently been scoring with his bat making an impact.
His scores from last ten innings read 28*,36,14,25,38*,24,49*,11,57 and 13. His scores exceed the runs scored by the opener Hilton Cartwright. Paine has also provided stability to the lower middle order with his willow.
During the first innings of the second test of the ongoing test series between South Africa and Australia, he had to stay at the crease to support Shaun Marsh as Australia were in need of a big total.
But the latter got out and the responsibility was on him. He was running out of partners but he managed to score a very crucial 36 runs and hence, increasing their total.
Even in the second innings, when Australia's core players like David Warner, Steve Smith and Marsh weren't able to track the bounce and got out cheaply, Paine was an exception.
He built a solid partnership with Mitch Marsh. After Mitch had got out, he remained unbeaten on 28 but Australia's lower middle order couldn't stay at the crease for long.
He was a lone ranger in the lower middle order. This shows the kind of form and the batting skills he has.
Not only has Paine impressed in Tests, but also in the shortest format of the game.
In the lucrative Big Bash League, he is the captain of Hobart Hurricanes and he has led the team to the finals of the third season of the Big Bash League.
In T20's he is known for his formidable batting skills at the top of the order and his ability to kickstart an innings or run chase with quickfire boundaries.
Out of the 43 matches he has played, he has scored 1119 runs with a highest score of 91 and with an outstanding strike rate of 122.16. He is also a reliable gloveman with 51 dismissals to his name.
According to most of the former cricketers, he is considered as the finest gloveman in Australia. He has been chosen over Wade, Peter Nevill and Alex Carey.
He is closely trailed by Alex Carey in the One Day International format in terms of selection.
Therefore, Australia's selection of Paine has proved to be very useful and worthy, and they would want him to maintain his current form and also figure in Australia's 2019 World Cup Plans.Published 21 Mar 2018, 02:48 IST