He may only have himself to blame for the indiscretions that seem to have cost him his career, but we can still feel a tinge of grief for him
Not long ago, one of the tales before Ashes was whether Tim Paine could get the chance to end his test career in an Ashes victory at his home ground in Hobart.
Doubting whether Perth could host the final test of this season’s series due to border restrictions, the Tasmanian government made a strong push for the fight. It was always likely to be a long shot, but it carried the emotional attachment of the captain’s story.
CA chairman questions the first response to Paine in 2018
But no matter where you sit with regard to all this clutter, the wording of the tweet from Paine’s manager James Henderson earlier today was worrying. “We are extremely concerned about his and [wife] Bonnie’s well-being, ‘it read.
Less than 24 hours earlier, he had been named Tasmania’s one-day team to face Western Australia as he was completing his return to action from a neck operation with a four-day 2nd XI outing. He had failed twice with the bat, but kept nice. The plan was to get another day of cricket, at a higher level, before heading up to Queensland to join the Test squad.
Overnight things changed, and by the time the rest of the players were informed of the captaincy decision, they were told that Paine would not join them. For now, it’s an open situation, and there was real warmth when Cummins talked about hoping to welcome Paine back, but nothing about this works in Paine’s favor. Although he feels ready to return over the next few weeks, there is no long-winded cricket now that BBL is about to start and it would be difficult to pick a new wicketkeeper and then omit them.
There was always a risk that it would unfold this way after the events of Friday. Teammates, of course, spoke passionately about Paine’s impending return over the past 24 hours – Nathan Lyon went into detail about what he believes made him the best wicketkeeper in the world – but it would have been a huge challenge for Paine to go out. at Gabba.
His overall record as captain reads: played 23, won 11, lost eight, draw four. His finest hour came at Old Trafford in 2019, when Australia retained Ashes in England for the first time in 18 years. The prelude to that match, following Ben Stokes’ extraordinary performance at Headingley, where Australia lost their composure, was impressive in bringing the team back together. That the series ended 2-2 was another blow to a more specific legacy, but securing the urn 18 months after the debacle in South Africa was a significant achievement.
Much has been said about the Paine dough, and quite a bit of it is misplaced. The lack of a Test century is a gap – his best of 92, against India in Mohali, coming in his first short incarnation as a Test cricketer in 2010 remains his top score – but over the last two seasons at home he has on average had 37.00. Early in his captaincy, he saved a Test in Dubai with an undefeated 61 alongside Usman Khawaja. He was no Adam Gilchrist, but then no one else has been. His test average as a goalkeeper of 31.97 can be compared to Jos Buttler (29.36), Brad Haddin (32.98), Matthew Wade (28.58) and Niroshan Dickwella (33.80) to select a pair of contemporaries.
For some, none of this, the numbers and statistics, will be able to end a career on his terms, or at least on the test field, mean anything. Understandably, there will be a lack of sympathy from many. But it is also possible to acknowledge his foolishness and still feel a tinge of grief. If Paine has played his last cricket match, one must hope that in time there is still a place for him in the sport.
Andrew McGlashan is the Vice Editor of ESPNcricinfo