Australia coach Justin Langer feels Tim Paine could still return to the Test team.

Australia head coach Justin Langer has declared that disgraced Test captain Tim Paine could still return to the side. Justin Langer observed that Tim Paine, aged 36, is still a fit athlete and has kept the door open for his comeback.

Tim Paine resigned as Test captain a few weeks before the home Ashes series following the sexting scandal. The 36-year old quit tearfully in a press conference; however, he intended to continue as a player in the Ashes before taking an indefinite break. Pat Cummins replaced him as skipper.

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Justin Langer stated that Tim Paine loves the sport and is fit as an athlete, hoping to see him play again. While acknowledging that Paine’s priority currently is to take care of his mental health, the West Australian stated, as quoted

by Perth Now:

“He loves cricket. He absolutely loves cricket. And he’s 37. He is a fit as any athlete, certainly in our squad. He looks after himself so well. He’s very focused. So who knows. His No.1 priority at the moment is family as you can imagine, and that’s how it should be. I’m not sure we’ve seen the end of him. But we’ll wait and see. That’ll be his decision.”

Paine’s tenure has been topsy-turvy since taking over as captain in March 2018 in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal. The keeper-batsman helped Australia retain the Ashes urn in England for the first time since 2001, but sustained two successive Test series losses at home to India.

“He’s one of my really close friends and someone I admire enormously” – Justin Langer

Justin Langer. (Image Credits: Getty)
Justin Langer. (Image Credits: Getty)

Langer claimed Paine was one of his closest friends and sympathized with what he had gone through. The former Aussie opener hailed the veteran for handling the team in the last four years in times of upheaval.

“He’s one of my really close friends and someone I admire enormously. In this generation of players that I didn’t play with, he is one of the best people I’ve met in the game of cricket. He’s been a captain for a long time. He and I have been through a journey like we have with all this group. He’s obviously shattered with what’s happened. Because he’s been such an exemplary figure in Australian cricket for the last four years.”

Australia, who otherwise would have walked into the 2021-22 Ashes series as heavy favorites, had to deal with this distraction. It remains to be seen if Cummins, with zero captaincy experience at international level, will thrive in his new role.