Out of the fire and into the ... Ashes?

By Aaron Callaghan

Time Paine’s seven year international exile is over. Paine’s comeback was built on a pair of half centuries, one against the ‘Old Dart’ in a tour match and the second against Victoria after a first innings duck, trapped in front LBW after seeing off just three balls. Word from the CAX1 tour game against England, that Tim Paine captained, is that Paine kept well, The Townsville Bulletin’s Trent Slatter writes (http://bit.ly/2isfJYU). England Assistant Coach Paul Fabrace  heaped praise on Paine, “He’s a great fella, he’s an excellent wicket keeper, and he batted well against us last week.”


A 52 against England and a 71 not versus Victoria. Does one hot day make a summer?


Paine was playing second fiddle to Matthew Wade in the wicket keeping ranks in Tasmania, there’s no doubt Tim Paine is a great keeper and if it were not for injuries probably would have played way more international cricket. To quote the ‘12th Man’, “His fingers look like a bag of Twisties”. Tim Paine has had more finger surgeries than test matches with seven surgeries in as many years, he’s now healthy and standing at first slip next to Matthew Wade.


I read an interesting stat that Darren Lehman has scored a more recent first class ton than Tim Paine. In true with The Unsportsmen brand I don’t have a source and probably read it on Facebook so it must be true.

Paine’s last first class century 2006

D. Lehman’s last first class century 2007


The Unsportsmen isn’t here to bash Tim Paine, he’s a fine gloveman, can allegedly bat (read: He’s scored one more first class century than me), but we are hyper critical of the selection process and murky selection guidelines, a week ahead of his 33rd birthday Paine is plucked from a CA X1 game and relieved of his first slip duties for Tasmania and thrust into the ashes, What exactly is the message here? Get runs and you get dropped from your state side due to your age like Ed Cowan, don’t get runs, average 19 in Shield cricket and get an Ashes gig. Use the hashtag #FreeEdCowan when tweeting your abuse at Steve Smith, even given Cowan’s age you could do worse than having a great mentor and veteran leader around the team. Perhaps the unluckiest man in all of this is Peter Neville, dumped last year for Matthew Wade due to Wade’s superior batting, Neville has pilled on shield runs and look where that gets you.


The Australian team selectors seem to make up the rules as they go along and the team selections continue to baffle and amaze the cricketing public. Also Shaun Marsh gets his 912th recall to the test side, so congratulations Shaun, I guess.