Paine ponders the end amid Tassie turmoil | cricket.com.au

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Paine ponders the end amid Tassie turmoil

Former Test keeper weighing up his future beyond cricket, adding to upheaval in Tasmanian cricket

The sacking of Tasmania coach Dan Marsh this week could lead to a dramatic change of heart from former Test wicketkeeper Tim Paine, who this week conceded his cricketing career could rapidly be nearing an end.

Quick Single: Marsh sacked as Tasmania coach

Still just 32, Paine revealed to cricket.com.au that the end of his career "could be a month or two away", despite earning a recall to Australia's T20 side this week for his first match in national colours in more than six years.

Paine's comments came just days before the sacking of Marsh last Thursday, under whose watch the keeper-batsman has languished in second XI and grade cricket.

With Tasmania rooted to the bottom of the Sheffield Shield ladder, Paine has scored 55, 49, 99, 5 and 120 in five Future League knocks this summer, while only George Bailey managed more than his 227 runs for the Hobart Hurricanes in the KFC Big Bash League.

Paine steadies to move to the top of BBL|06

Uncontracted beyond next season, Paine admitted he was already considering his life beyond cricket, although he is still hopeful of playing more first-class cricket for his beloved Tigers.

"I don't think I'm there just yet, but I could be a month or two away from that," Paine said last Tuesday when asked if cricket is no longer his top priority. "That's just the reality of it.

"I'm as keen as I've ever been to play for Tasmania ... and I'm rapt to be playing for Australia this week.

"But if things don't work out, then it's time for me to move on to other things and I'm also looking forward to that."

Asked if he could see the end of his career in the near future, Paine replied: "Possibly. I'm prepared for that.

"But I'm really keen to play more Shield cricket and I feel I've got years of good cricket left in me. But all I can do is perform well and those decisions are made by other people."

One of those people won't be Marsh, who was axed as Tasmania’s coach just days after Paine's comments following a disappointing four years at the Tigers.

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What Marsh's exit does to Paine's chances of a new contract remain unclear, adding to what is set to be a fascinating off-season of upheaval in the Apple Isle.

Although the mooted return to the Tigers of Test and ODI keeper Matthew Wade for next season is undoubtedly a blow to Paine's chances of retention.

Paine kept his cards close to his chest when asked about his plans beyond cricket, but said it could even involve a move away from Tasmania.

"Yeah I would (consider moving states), it might not be for cricket reasons," he said.

"I've got some things going through my mind at the moment on what I might do next.

"Whether that's next year or the year after I'm not sure. But I'm certainly looking at other opportunities.

"I probably wouldn't move just to play cricket.

"There's some other stuff outside cricket that could be really exciting so that's something to look forward to."

Fellow Tasmanian Ricky Ponting, who captained Paine in his four Tests in 2010, said the gloveman was unlucky to have not regained his Shield spot.

"At the end of the day I know Tim in particular has been putting runs on the board in second XI cricket," Ponting told cricket.com.au.

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"But like other things about Tasmanian cricket, because they haven't had a lot of success, there have been a lot of changes around the Sheffield Shield team with players coming in and out.

"There hasn't been a great deal of stability.

"But the bottom line is, you don't get dropped unless you don't perform."

Quick Single: Ponting's 'obvious' choice as Tassie coach

Paine was earmarked as Australia's future No.1 gloveman and possibly even a future Test skipper by Steve Waugh after impressing in four Tests against Pakistan and India in 2010, when he filled in for the injured Brad Haddin.

The right-hander notched a composed innings of 92 in a Test Mohali in 2010 and also contributed more than 700 runs in 26 one-day internationals, including a century against England in 2009.

But a serious finger injury suffered in an exhibition match just a month after that Test in Mohali derailed his career and it took several years for him to regain full fitness.

With comebacks at domestic level curtailed on numerous occasions due to the damaged digit, he can now see how it negatively affected him in what should have been his prime years.

"I certainly kicked a few cans around," Paine says reflecting on how he handled the constant setbacks.

"Then when I came back (from injury) and things didn't go to plan (I thought) not a lot of it was my fault. I looked for a lot of excuses and blamed everything but my own performance.

"Looking back on it now, I've learnt a lot from it and I think it's one of the reasons I've started to play really good cricket and started to enjoy it again."

Australia's second T20 against Sri Lanka is Sunday evening in Geelong, where the hosts will be seeking to square the series.

- with Louis Cameron