AAP & Cricket Network
AAP & Cricket Network
Once touted as Australia's long-term Test wicketkeeper, Tim Paine is refusing to be bitter about the injuries which derailed his career.
And having been on the verge of retirement just six months ago, he's now back in Australian colours and eyeing off further opportunities at the highest level this summer.
It's almost seven years since Paine broke his finger while batting in an exhibition game in Brisbane. That injury took years to get on top of, with the last of seven surgeries finally solving the problem.
But by that time, he had tumbled down the pecking order and the four Tests he played in 2010 looked to be the limit of his career in the Baggy Green.
"For me to sit back and be bitter about what happened would be pretty silly," he said in Ranchi on Friday ahead of Australia's T20 series against India.
"Even before getting back into the Twenty20 side, I've been proud of what I've achieved in cricket and I'll always look back on it fondly, not at what might have been.
"I'm happy with how it's gone so far, I've been really lucky and I'm hopeful it can continue for a few years."
Paine is back in the national team having been close to retiring at the start of the year to take a job with Kookaburra in Melbourne. But a contract extension with Tasmania convinced him to persevere.
"I was looking to probably retire," he said.
"It's turned around really quickly and I'm very grateful that it has."
With Matthew Wade under pressure ahead of the Australian summer to hold his Test and ODI spots, adding to his four Tests wouldn't be impossible if Paine started to pile up runs in the JLT Sheffield Shield.
While Paine insists that's not his main focus as Australia try to restore some pride after being thumped in the ODI series, he's aware that further opportunities may become available in the coming months.
"I know it's a bit of a cliche, but for someone of my age and in my position, it'd be foolish to look too far ahead," he said. "I've tried to keep reminding that of myself as well.
"I just want to ... do well in this series and then when I head home to Australia, hopefully I can start the Shield season and JLT Cup really well. I'm not looking too far ahead.
"I think I'm one of the best wicketkeepers in Australia and I've always said that and always felt that.
"The area that has let me down in the past two or three years has been my batting. I feel now I'm keeping as well as I ever have, I just need to put some runs on the board.
"And as we've seen in the past few days, if you start well in Australia and have a good series here, there's some huge opportunities in Australian cricket."
Australia's Qantas Tour of India
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Axar Patel.
October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi
October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati
October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad