Why Paine’s an outside chance of Test return, BBL’s DRS call for new season

Tim Paine could be one Alex Carey broken finger away from a shock Test comeback this summer, with Tasmania coach Jeff Vaughan confirming the gloveman is in the mix to play Sheffield Shield cricket as early as next week.

Paine has been in the cricket wilderness for 12 months following the publication of reports detailing a sexting scandal with a former Cricket Tasmania staffer.

In August he quietly rejoined the state squad in Hobart and it’s understood he will make his club cricket return in a limited overs match this Sunday.

Should Carey suffer an injury between now and the beginning of the Test summer on November 30, Australian selectors will need to make a call on his replacement.

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Paine, who will have as many as five Shield games between now and then to push his case, would be seen as a short-term option.

Josh Inglis, who has been hot on Carey’s heels in recent times, would be a longer-term play.

Tim Paine

Tim Paine (Photo by Mark Brake – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

“Physically, (he’s) going well, emotionally going well,” Vaughan said of Paine in an interview with ESPNCricinfo. “I’m sure everyone would agree that we trust his wicketkeeping skill set, his leadership skill set, so he’s up for selection.

“Like any of our contracted players and like any of our players in Tasmanian premier cricket, he‘s up for selection and one we will certainly speak about.”

Paine’s first task will be to dislodge Jake Doran as Tasmania’s first-choice keeper. Doran, who is 12 years Paine’s junior, wore the gloves in seven of the eight Shield games last summer and was behind the pegs in the Marsh Cup opener against South Australia on Wednesday night.

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If Paine plays for Tasmania in the Shield next week, he is likely to be joined by two other veterans: Jackson Bird and Peter Siddle.

While it may be a touch presumptuous to begin a campaign for his return to the Baggy Green, Carey’s inconsistent glovework has him on shaky ground in the Test arena, even if his batting showed signs of improving in Pakistan and Sri Lanka during the winter.

Paine has not played any competitive cricket since November last year and is not a contracted state player for 2022/23, though he can be upgraded if he becomes a regular fixture in Tasmania’s best XI.

BBL brings in DRS for new season

It’s a move long coveted by fans, and Cricket Australia have finally confirmed that DRS will make its BBL and WBBL debut for the upcoming season.

The lack of a review system has long caused controversy in the competition, with a number of terrible decisions leading to on-field drama.

However, while the system will be in place for all men’s BBL games, only 24 of the 59 WBBL matches will also have the system.

“Implementing DRS has been a challenging task for the BBL, which is the most logistically complex T20 league in the world,” BBL general manager Alistair Dobson said.

“That, plus the impact of the pandemic on travel and movement, have meant the technology has not been possible to introduce until this season.”

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Each team will be allowed one unsuccessful review per innings, with captains afforded 15 seconds to make their decision.

Aussie selectors chop and change

Australia have named a 16-man squad for the upcoming two-match T20I series against the West Indies, and it includes wonder boy Cameron Green.

Green is not in the 15-man squad for the World Cup, but selectors have stuck with him following a blistering batting show against India, which included a 19-ball half-century at the top of the order.

David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Starc return after being left out with various minor ailments, while Kane Richardson and Ashton Agar have been rested.

Chief selector George Bailey forecast returns for Richardson and Agar ahead of the England T20I series, which will leave Green on the outer unless there are any injuries between now and then.

It remains to be seen whether Green will play against the West Indies, though it appears unlikely he would open the batting with Warner returning and Finch the skipper.

For the first time in years, the Aussies boast an embarrassment of riches in the T20 arena, with Green and Tim David putting regular players under pressure to retain their spots.

David is jostling with Glenn Maxwell and Stoinis for a middle-order position, while Green’s performances at the top of the order have some questioning whether Finch himself should step aside.

Australia have six T20I matches to play before the World Cup. Two against the West Indies, three against England and one official warm-up match versus India on October 17.

Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

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AUS v WI T20Is
Wednesday Oct 5: Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast, 6:10pm
Friday Oct 7: The Gabba, Brisbane, 6:10pm

Cameron Green of Australia celebrates the dismissal of Ryan Burl of Zimbabwe.

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Watto’s still got it

It probably hasn’t got the media attention it deserves in Australia, but the Road Safety World Series is chock a block full of superstars.

For those who haven’t followed, it’s a Legends T20 tournament held in India. Australia’s semi-final against the hosts was stopped due to rain overnight and will resume on Friday with Cameron White and Brad Haddin at the crease.

Shane Watson is Australia’s skipper, Callum Ferguson bats in the middle order, and Brett Lee shares the new pill with Dirk Nannes. Nostalgic bliss!

India’s captain is none other than 49-year-old Sachin Tendulkar. He’s joined by Irfan Pathan and Yuvraj Singh, among others. South Africa have Jonty Rhodes, Makhaya Ntini and Jaques Rudolph, while Jacob Oram and Craig McMillan are turning out for the Kiwis. All up, there are eight countries involved.

Watson is the competition’s leading run-scorer, followed by West Indian Dwayne Smith and Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan. To watch all these middle-aged men put on a show is actually awesome. Yes, they are a bit slower than they were at their peak, but they still have the raw skills.

John Hastings is in the Aussie squad but not the XI. His 18-ball over a couple of weeks ago probably didn’t help his cause.

The tournament is unsurprisingly super popular in India. The official Instagram account boasts 1.5 million followers.

England ready to host India vs Pakistan Tests

England has put its hand up to host Test matches between India and Pakistan, according to multiple overseas reports, after the bilateral stand-off has existed in the longest format since 2007 due to political tensions.

Martin Darlow, the England Wales Cricket Board’s deputy chair, reportedly broached the subject with Pakistan Cricket Board chair Ramiz Raja.

England withdrew from a scheduled two-match Test series against Pakistan last year, further deteriorating a relationship that never quite recovered from a spot fixing scandal a decade ago.

A Pakistan vs India Test series in England would command huge broadcast value and significant local interest, if their one-day match during the 2019 World Cup is anything to go by.

India and Pakistan refusing to play against each other in a bilateral series remains one of the unsolved complexities of the ICC’s Test Championship, which is theoretically supposed to pit all the best nations against one another across a three-year period.

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