Tim Paine: The Australian Test captain wants his premier batsman to be up and running for Ashes 2021-22 later this year.
Australia Test captain Tim Paine is unperturbed by the possibility of some of Australia’s multi-format players walking into Ashes 2021-22 without any red-ball practice.
Australia, who had last played a Test match against India in January this year, won’t be playing one until the start of their international summer later this year. After hosting Afghanistan for a one-off Test in Hobart in November, Australia will play the all-important Ashes from December 8.
A potential scheduling problem lies in the fact that there’s only a 13-day gap between the final of T20 World Cup and Afghanistan Test. Assuming that Australia qualify for the final match, multi-format players won’t be able to play the Hobart Test for they will have to quarantine for a minimum of two weeks (as per the current rules) upon returning to Australia.
Assuming that Cricket Australia doesn’t find a way around this riddle, Paine will have to do without multi-format players in his first Test at his home ground. Paine, 36, highlighted how Australia had retained Ashes 2019 in England without red-ball practice due to their participation in ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
“We’d like our T20 side to go as deep as they can in the tournament [T20 World Cup 2021], so if they do it looks like a couple of weeks quarantine when they get home and it will probably be tight to be available for the [Afghanistan] Test match,” Paine was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“But our players have come into an Ashes series in England [in 2019] before without any red-ball cricket, and if we have to do that then I think now in the professional era of international cricket guys can cope with it and do it really well.
“Internally and externally, we’ve been really clear on the two huge goals that are ahead – one of those is the T20 World Cup and the other one’s the Ashes – and we want all of our best players on the park for a majority, if not all of those tournaments, if we can.”
Tim Paine okay with Steve Smith missing T20 World Cup 2021 to be fit for Ashes 2021-22
Under Aaron Finch, Australia’s white-ball squad is currently in West Indies for five T20Is and three ODIs. While a lot of prominent names have chosen to remain in Australia due to various reasons, batsman Steve Smith missed the flight to Caribbean due to a tennis elbow injury.
With no definite time period for his recovery, Smith had most recently hinted at prioritizing Ashes over T20 World Cup to the extent that if it comes to picking one, he would pick the former.
Although Smith is among the best modern-day batsmen in Tests and ODIs, his T20I numbers aren’t too pleasing. If it really comes down to him sacrificing a world event in the shortest format for an Ashes series, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise. Paine, too, didn’t shy away from saying that he’d want Smith to play in the Ashes even if it comes at the cost of missing the T20 World Cup.
“What’s important for me is that he [Steve Smith] is fit to go, whether that’s at the T20 World Cup or for the Ashes. Obviously from a selfish point of view, I would love him to be one hundred per cent fit and if that means he misses that tournament [T20 World Cup], then so be it.
“But I think Steve’s a professional, he’ll know where his body’s at and if he doesn’t feel like he’s right then he’ll make the right call. He’s the best player in the world and you take the best player of any side out, it creates a bit of a hole so fingers crossed his elbow comes good,” Paine added.