Australian captain Tim Paine has his eyes on more silverware in the Test Championship.
Australian captain Tim Paine has his eyes on more silverware in the Test Championship.

Paine thinking of England, in more ways than one

Tim Paine is in the market for an English county opening this year, outlining the Australian captain's determination to potentially play on in Test cricket until the next Ashes.

In what is a relatively light Test season with only two matches against Bangladesh in June, Paine is on the lookout for a guest stint in England in a bid to keep his eye in and skills sharp in between domestic summers.

 

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Australian coach Justin Langer has already locked Paine in as skipper and wicketkeeper for next year's Test Championship Final at Lord's, but the Tasmanian isn't necessarily viewing that as an end date either.

Paine understands that at 35 years of age, there are no guarantees and every series could potentially be his last.

But he is among the fittest players in Australian cricket - evidenced by his interest in maintaining match conditioning in England - and based on how his body feels, Paine believes the 2021-22 Ashes on Australian soil is not out of the question.

"Certainly there's a huge carrot there in 15 or 16 months that I'd love to be a part of (Test Championship final), and that's certainly my goal," Paine said.

 

Even at 35 Paine remains one of the fittest men in the Australian squad.
Even at 35 Paine remains one of the fittest men in the Australian squad.

 

"If I can continue to play well then, who knows. I might get to that game, we might play in that final, we might win it. I might think I can get through to the next Ashes if I'm playing well.

"So again, I'm putting no time frame on it other than to say I'm not looking past any series I'm playing in, it could be my last. That's just how it is. But physically, the way I'm going, if I'm going well then I could go to the next Ashes.

"At the moment I haven't looked past the Bangladesh series. You never know what's going to happen there and I'll reassess again after that."

 

Test player of the year Marnus Labuschagne credits his rapid rise in part to a stint in England.
Test player of the year Marnus Labuschagne credits his rapid rise in part to a stint in England.

 

But in the meantime Paine is open to ways to keep playing in 2020 - potentially in the UK - while white ball cricket becomes the main assignment for the national team.

"I think most of those (county spots) are now filled," he said.

"What I might have to do is make myself available potentially for anyone who had a player pull out in injured.

"But it's hard to know.

"I'll probably stay at home and watch some footy and spend some time at the centre of excellence in Brisbane getting ready for that series."

Marnus Labuschagne credited his stint in county cricket last year for his transformation into one of the best batsmen in the world.



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