Marsh Sheffield Shield 2020-21
Paine backed to fire despite hamstring soreness
Australia's Test captain Tim Paine put in the hard yard during an extended pre-season, revealing he 'over-trained' but is expected to reap the rewards when the Shield season begins
2 October 2020, 02:56 PM AEST
Coming off his most prolific Australian summer since he burst onto the scene more than a decade ago, Test skipper Tim Paine has been backed to fire with the bat early in the domestic season ahead of Australia's series against India.
Paine will captain Tasmania in the opening two rounds of the Marsh Sheffield Shield campaign in Adelaide, with regular skipper Matthew Wade to miss the early stages of the competition to spend some valuable time with his young family before the international season gets underway.
Paine revealed on Friday that he's carrying some hamstring tendonitis due to over-training during an extended off-season, but he'll be fit to take the gloves in Tasmania's season opener against Queensland, starting on October 10.
Last summer, Paine scored just the second first-class century of his career and finished the Shield season with 313 runs at an average nudging 40. Including the five Tests he played for Australia, the right-hander's season tally of 479 runs at 36.84 is his highest since his breakout summer for Tasmania in 2006-07, when the then 21-year-old scored a double-century to announce himself as a Test player in waiting.
Paine's long and winding road to the Test captaincy since then has been well documented and ahead of a mouth-watering home summer against Virat Kohli and India, Tasmania coach Jeff Vaughan has backed the 34-year-old to continue his good recent batting form in the early part of the Shield season.
"I've only had involvement with Painey for the last three years, but I think he's batting as well as anytime through his whole career," Vaughan told cricket.com.au.
"Physically he's in a great place, he's got a really good understanding of his own game, which he's always had as a wicketkeeper but now he's developing that as a batsman as well. He's got a good understanding of how he wants to go about it and the way he wants to go about it and hopefully that equates to some success.
"He's every bit a first-class and international player with both bat and the gloves. He's batted beautifully throughout the whole pre-season and we're very hopeful he's going to have some very significant runs for us in the early part of the season."
The postponement of Australia's Test tour of Bangladesh in June means Paine hasn't played any cricket since early March and he's conceded he pushed himself a little too hard during Hobart's winter months.
"Training with the Tasmanian team has been good for me to come back and help out and get myself as fit as possible," Paine told SEN.
"I did a bit too much running there at point one and I am carrying a bit of hamstring tendonitis. I think I am just getting a bit old.
"Just trying to get myself very fit, (I) ended up probably going a bit too far and losing a bit too much weight. The last month or so, I have been given a bit of a free reign, which has been lovely."
Tasmania will name their squad on Tuesday for the first four rounds of the Shield competition, to be played in a mini hub in Adelaide, with off-season recruit Peter Siddle set to be named alongside fellow Test quick Jackson Bird and young pace star Riley Meredith.
With players expected to be in a hub of some sort for most of the summer, whether that be international, BBL or state cricket, Wade has been granted leave for the first two rounds to spend time with his family before the season begins in earnest.
The 32-year-old had been in quarantine in Adelaide following Australia's recent tour of England and returned home on Friday.