Former Australian cricket captain Tim Paine is taking his first timid steps towards a return to cricket.
- Tim Paine resigned as Australian captaincy last year after a sexting scandal involving a Cricket Tasmania employee
- He last played competitive cricket for Tasmania’s 2nd XI in November 2021, scoring one and four
- He started training a few weeks ago and plans to play for the university in the Tasmanian Premier League.
Paine is training with the Tigers’ Sheffield Shield side with the aim of playing for the university in the state’s Premier League competition this season.
Tasmanian fast bowler Riley Meredith said Paine started training a few weeks ago.
“He’s really enjoying it, which I think is the main thing for him,” he said.
“I’m just coming back and really enjoying being around the guys again and training and enjoying his cricket which is good to see.”
The 37-year-old does not have a contract with Cricket Tasmania, but a spokeswoman for the organization said Paine had not ruled out a return to top-class cricket.
“He’ll see what comes of it,” she said.
Meredith said Paine would be welcomed with open arms into the Sheffield Shield squad.
“He’s probably one of our most capped players ever, so it would be cool to have him there in any capacity,” he said.
“He’s obviously a very good captain, he’s got a great cricketing brain, so if he wants to play he’s more than welcome, that’s for sure.”
Paine walked away from all forms of gambling last year following revelations he sent explicit phone messages to a Cricket Tasmania employee.
He had played 35 Tests for Australia, making 150 catches and seven stumpings as a wicketkeeper.
The right-handed batsman completed 1,534 tries with an average of 32.63.
Paine captained Australia after the ball-tampering controversy in South Africa in 2018 before leading Australia to retain the Ashes in England in 2019.
He led the team in 23 Tests, winning 11, losing eight and drawing four.
The keeper last played a competitive game for Tasmania’s 2nd XI in a match against a South Australian 2nd XI in November 2021, shortly after his resignation from the Australia captain.
He took six catches in that game but scored ones and fours before announcing he would not be available for Australia and was taking an indefinite leave from the sport.