Selectors feel Paine return

February 02, 2017

Hurricanes Captain Tim Paine hits a six during the Big Bash League (BBL) T20 match between the Hobart Hurricanes and the Adelaide Strikers at Blundstone Arena in Hobart, Monday, January 2, 2017. (AAP Image/Rob Blakers)

Tim Paine wants his selection as wicketkeeper for Australia’s T20 series against Sri Lanka to be the start of a road back to national cricket in longer formats.

It is six years since the Tasmanian donned an Australian shirt, and he credits his recent Big Bash form behind the stumps as Hobart Hurricanes’ keeper for the latest call-up.

‘‘I always had some hope that if I could get back to playing my best cricket I would be an outside chance,’’ Paine, 32, said yesterday after hearing from national selector Trevor Hohns.

While his batting lost its shine late in the BBL season, Paine took eight catches as keeper across as many games.

After captaining, keeping, and opening the batting for the Hurricanes, Paine is looking forward to a more focused role playing for Australia under skipper Aaron Finch.

‘‘I’m actually hoping I do get to bat down the order because it’s something I think I can do pretty well and something I haven’t had much of a chance to do,’’ he said.

With Australia’s Test side preparing for the series in India, Paine said the T20 international squad offered a great opportunity.

‘‘Some of the big boys are away, so it’s a bit of a rebel tour, but it’s an opportunity for guys to play on the big stage and if someone grabs their opportunity I’m sure it puts you back in calculations for other formats as well,’’ he said.

Since he last played T20 for Australia against England in January 2011, Paine said his form had waned.

‘‘My strength as a cricketer was always my confidence and my belief in myself is probably something that has gone missing in the past four or five years,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s slowly coming back and I’m really enjoying my cricket and my confidence is back to a level where I’m playing decent cricket again.’’

Hobart-based Paine has played four Tests for Australia, the last in October 2010, and 26 ODIs.

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