Vodafone Men's Ashes
Paine to have neck surgery ahead of the Ashes
Australia skipper to go under the knife this week in bid to alleviate neck pain ahead of Test series against England, beginning December
13 September 2021, 04:54 PM AEST
Tim Paine is confident he will be fit to lead the men's Test side in time for this summer's Ashes despite being forced into neck surgery on the eve of the season.
Paine will go under the knife in Hobart on Tuesday in a bid to fix a pinched nerve in his neck that has restricted him during pre-season training with Tasmania.
Medicos are optimistic the Test captain will be able to resume light physical activity by the end of September, begin full training in October and be right to play by early November.
The first Vodafone Ashes Test is still three months away in early December at the Gabba.
"The consensus of the spinal surgeon and the CA medical team was to have the surgery now which will allow plenty of time to fully prepare for the summer," Paine said in a statement.
"I expect to be able to restart physical activity by the end of this month and be back in full training in October.
"I will be ready to go by the first Test and am very much looking forward to what will be a huge summer.”
Paine is no stranger to the operating table, having overcome a series of major injuries to his right index finger that left him on the brink of retirement only 12 months before an unexpected recall to the Test side in 2017.
Seven bouts of surgery has left him with him with pins and a plate holding the finger together.
His latest injury, which has given him pain in his neck and left arm due to a bulging disc, is not expected to cause him as much grief.
It does however look set to rule him out of the opening stages of Tasmania's domestic campaign.
The fluidity of the schedule means there will be a question mark over exactly how much cricket Paine – and his fellow Test specialists not heading to the Indian Premier League and T20 World Cup – will be able to play.
The Tigers kick off their Marsh Sheffield Shield season against Queensland in Brisbane on September 28, with the rest of the domestic schedule still to be released.
In the absence of any Test cricket for the Aussies between last home season and the forthcoming one, Paine has spent the winter in Hobart while he also travelled to Darwin in July to mentor a Cricket Australia XI that played matches in the Northern Territory.
Paine, who turns 37 on the opening day of this summer's Ashes, had been eyeing off a first Test in front of his home crowd at Blundstone Arena against Afghanistan in late November, but that match now appears unlikely to go ahead.
A spokesman for the Taliban, the ultra-conservative Islamist organisation that has recently been reclaimed power in Afghanistan, told SBS News that "Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed.
"In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this," said Ahmadullah Wasiq, the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission.
CA responded by saying it would "have no alternative" but to cancel Afghanistan's maiden Test against Australia if those views were substantiated, a stance Paine has supported.
"I don‘t think we want to be associated with countries that are taking opportunities or things off literally half their population," Paine said on SEN radio last week.
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium