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Taking one Test at a time; Pak series is some distance away: Tim Paine

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Sydney, Nov 9 (IANS) Australia Test skipper Tim Paine has said that he isn’t really decided on whether he would be around playing the Test series against Pakistan in March next year, adding that he’s a person who takes “one Test match at a time” and his immediate priority is to be fit to lead the side in the Ashes, beginning December 8.

Paine had undergone an invasive neck surgery in mid-September to set right a bulging disc that had been causing discomfort to the wicketkeeper-batsman in his left arm and neck. The bulging disc was pressing on the nerve canal, causing pain on the left side of the body.

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Paine has had a couple of training session this month and though he had pulled up a bit sore on occasions, he hopes to be ready when the Ashes series commences at The Gabba next month.

“I haven’t (on playing through until March), to be honest, but that’s no different to any year when I’ve been back in the team,” Paine told SEN’s Whateley on Tuesday.

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“I’ve said that many times, I look one Test match at a time, one series at a time, since I came back into the team at 33, I think you’d be foolish to be looking too far past the series that’s coming up. I’m in constant contact with (coach) Justin Langer and our selectors, and we all know where we stand on that.

“I’ll play out this Ashes series, see how I feel, see how we go, see what the teammates think, and then we’ll push on. If I go to Pakistan then great, if I don’t then I’ll be happy to go back and play for Tasmania for the rest of the year. I’m certainly not swinging one way or another,” added Paine, 36, who became Test skipper following the sandpaper scandal in South Africa in 2018.

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The captain has averaged 32.63 with the bat and in his 35 Tests. However with the rigours of wicket-keeping over five days and the fact that he is coming back from an invasive surgery, Paine concedes the end is not far away. But he says the retirement will be on his own terms.

“I’m fine, I feel good to go (after the surgery). We had a plan in place when we decided I’d have the surgery, always the playing date coming back for me was November 20. We’re going to stick to that regardless, I’ve been training fully the last few days, I feel like I could play this week. The moment I woke up from surgery the pain I was experiencing down my left arm was gone instantly, then it was a matter of building up the strength in my left arm, I obviously lost quite a bit of weight not being able to do anything for two or three months.

“Pain wise it feels fantastic, with the neck I had to be a bit careful with diving and the wicket-keeping part, but I’ve been diving and catching the start of this week and a little bit late last week. I couldn’t be happier with where it’s at,” added Paine.

–IANS

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