The Ashes may be retained, the prospect of Australia’s first Test series win against England on its home turf in almost two decades remains live, but skipper Tim Paine insists he’s not about to bow out in a blaze of glory.
Paine acknowledges that another key reason he’s been able to remain comparably fresh despite taking on the heavy dual responsibilities of captaincy and wicketkeeping is that his only international obligations are at Test level.
By being able to train his focus on the Test squad and the planning needed for the five-day format, Paine has not only been able to conserve mental and physical energy but then impart that to others in the group who play all formats.
It’s an attribute that carries increased value at the end of a five-Test Ashes campaign that immediately followed the ICC World Cup, which has ensured numerous players on both sides of the Ashes rivalry are now battling fatigue.
However, Paine is unwilling to look as far ahead as the end of the ICC’s new Test Championship cycle that will see the top-two ranked teams come the middle of 2021 play-off in the UK for the crown and accompanying prize purse.
“I haven’t thought about it to be honest,” Paine said when asked if 2021 was a logical career end-point given his age and the completion of the Test cycle.