Test wicketkeeper Tim Paine is looking forward to the chance to write a new chapter in his playing career.
Test wicketkeeper Tim Paine is looking forward to the chance to write a new chapter in his playing career.

Paine excited by chance to change the script

TIM Paine has eight pins and a metal plate in his right index finger that tell the tale of this frustrating cricket career.

But he is sick of the sob stories and what-could-have-been comparisons.

Paine will pull on his baggy green for the first time in more than seven years in the first Ashes Test against England at the Gabba from Thursday and is ready to rewrite his story.

"To be honest I'm sick of talking about being the person who hurt his finger and what could have been six or seven years ago," Paine said.

"That's the way I'm looking at this opportunity.

"Hopefully I can be sitting in a room like this in two years or three years and we're talking about the back end of my Test career, not 'geez, he could have been a good player back in 2009'.

"That's something that's really exciting for me, is to be able to rewrite my story a bit and it's something I'm really keen to do."

Paine's recall to the Australian Test team for the first time since October 2010 has been one of the most controversial selections in recent history.

He was once Australia's next big thing, a rising wicketkeeper and classy batsman who had the potential to captain his country.

A broken finger in late 2010 saw him lose his spot in the Test side after four matches and numerous complications since meant he never got it back.

The finger now comprises bone from his hip and wrist and is the strongest it's been in years.

It will never be perfect but little in life is and Paine, 33 next month, is not about to let his latest opportunity slip.

 

Tim Paine last appeared in the Test arena in 2010 in the second Test against India.
Tim Paine last appeared in the Test arena in 2010 in the second Test against India.

 

"I always had faith I would be playing," he said.

"I didn't know what level that would be but I think in the last few years in particular I started to slightly angle myself towards some white ball cricket.

"I've always been plugging away and been keen to get back in the Tassie Shield team and always had confidence that my best cricket would be good enough.

"I absolutely love playing cricket so I don't have an issue with getting out of bed.

"I'm not here for five minutes, I'm here to make the most of this opportunity."

While he hasn't been keeping wickets for Tasmania this season given former Test gloveman Matthew Wade's return, Paine has practised his craft every day.

He struck arguably the most important knock of his career - 71 not out - last week on the eve of Test selection and has overcome the mental demons he carried for years with his shattered finger.

"With the time I've had off I've reshaped my batting," he said.

"I was battling mentally. I was out there thinking I was going to get hit and if I did get hit I'd never play again. It certainly rattled me a lot.

"The first step was actually going to speak to someone (sports psychologist) about that and be honest about it, that I was really battling. I feel in a really good place with it.

"The past five-six months I've really started to bat well again and I'll go into this Test with some confidence.

"I've played Test cricket before so I know what to expect. And I've had some success in the few Tests I have played, so I'll take some confidence from that."



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