BRISBANE: Australia coach Justin Langer has not ruled out a return to international cricket for Tim Paine despite the wicket-keeper resigning from the captaincy following his involvement in a “sexting” scandal.
Paine threw Australia’s Ashes preparations into turmoil three weeks before the start of the series against England when he quit the role before it was announced he would be taking an indefinite mental health break from the game.
“When I saw him [Paine] he’s obviously shattered with what’s happened because he’s been such an exemplary figure in Australian cricket, for the last four years particularly,” Langer told reporters on Saturday.
“His life’s changed, obviously. He absolutely loves cricket. He’s 37 and he is as fit as any athlete, certainly in our squad and we’ve got some fit athletes here.
“He looks after himself so well, he’s very focused so who knows” if he will return.
“His number one priority at the moment is his family, as you can imagine, and that’s how it should be,” Langer added.
“But I’m not sure we’ve seen the end of him. We’ll wait and see, but that will be his decision.”
While Paine may return in the future, Langer stressed Australia will not allow any distractions to take the attention off the Ashes series, which starts at the Gabba in Brisbane on Wednesday and concludes in mid-January.
Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2021