• Paine a doubt for Australia pre-season

    Test captain Tim Paine’s participation in Australia’s training camp, ahead of the series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, is in doubt.

    Paine is awaiting the birth of his second child.

    ‘The plan is for me to stay home, get them [wife and child] home and settled in and then I’ll leave from here,’ Paine told Fairfax Media.

    ‘I should be okay. We are hoping in the next 10 days we will probably have him [the baby boy]. That will give me a week at home before I head off after that.’

    Wicketkeeper-batsman Paine succeeded the outgoing Steve Smith as Test captain in March. Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft are currently serving Cricket Australia-imposed bans, after the ball-tampering saga that rocked the Newlands Test against South Africa and, indeed, world cricket, earlier this year.

    Australia will be without fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood in the UAE. Both have been sidelined with injury. Left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc, who has recovered from a leg injury, is back in contention for selection.

    ‘It’s going to be a huge challenge – we haven’t had a lot of success playing in the subcontinent. It’s not something we are worried about. It’s a huge opportunity and great place to start if we can go over there and play well and win a series,’ concluded Paine.

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    Jonhenry Wilson