Pay cut a small thing, players are prepared to do their bit for game's survival: Paine

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31 Mar 2020 | 07:18 AM
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Pay cut a small thing, players are prepared to do their bit for game's survival: Paine

Paine also said that a rising crop of young talent will compete with Steve Smith to be Australia's next captain

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Australian cricketers might have to accept a pay cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conceded Test captain Tim Paine but insisted that making financial sacrifices is a "small thing" in the current situation and they are prepared to "do their bit".

A pay cut for the top cricketers seems to be on the cards with Cricket Australia delaying annual contracts for both the men's and women's national teams. CA is preparing for the possibility of a severely-affected home summer due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"Certainly discussions will start happening in the next week or so," Paine was quoted as saying by 'ESPNCricinfo'.

"Certainly if things happen similar to what's happened to football and other sports, then we've certainly got to do our bit to make sure the game survives and remains really healthy for years to come.

"If it comes to that, I'm sure that's something that the players will look at. But there are bigger issues going on around the world at the moment than how much our sportsmen are going to get paid. That'll be a small thing to us if that was to happen."

Australia could have overtaken India in the World Test Championship ahead of the Border-Gavaskar series if Paine's side would have managed a 2-0 series win over Bangladesh in June but with the coronavirus outbreak forcing a cricket shutdown, the tour is now unlikely to go ahead.

"You don't have to be Einstein to realise (the Bangladesh tour) is probably unlikely to go ahead, particularly in June. Whether it's cancelled or pushed back, we're not quite sure at the moment," Paine said.

"Some series have been cancelled and whether ones going forward are going to be continually cancelled or we're going to postpone them (is uncertain) but it's a couple of Test matches and if at the end of the day we have to miss them, then so be it."

There is a lot of uncertainty over the rescheduling of the international calendar, especially with the World Test Championship final slated for June 2021.

Paine said they are eager to make the decider and might need to play five successive weeks to complete the World Test Championship.

"... maybe players are going to go through a period where we play five weeks' cricket (at a stretch) if we can to complete the Test championship. I think all players will be in favour of trying to finish that in any way we can.

"But again if it doesn't happen as I said there are bigger issues in the world and missing a few Test matches isn't going to hurt us," he said.

Smith faces competition for Australia captaincy: Paine

A rising crop of young talent will compete with Steve Smith to be Australia's next captain, current skipper Paine said.

Smith captained the side before Paine but was slapped with a two-year leadership ban over his part in the ball tampering scandal during a Test in Cape Town in 2018.

The ban expired this week, prompting renewed speculation that Smith could soon resume the leadership duties.

While 35-year-old Paine has acknowledged he is in the twilight of his career, the wicketkeeper said he was not yet ready to walk away from the game.

He refused to lay out a timetable for his departure, particularly with the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 shutdown, saying only that coach Justin Langer and the selectors knew of his plans.

"I know what I'm thinking, in terms of how far I can play on and we're on the same page," he told reporters via video conference.

Paine said he had not spoken with Smith about the captaincy but the 30-year-old batsman would not be the only candidate for the role.

"We've got a number of guys to choose from who can put their hand up," he said.

"There's Steve Smith, who's done it before, or the people who are developing underneath like a Travis Head or an Alex Carey -- Marnus Labuschagne and Pat Cummins are other ones.

"We're starting to build some real depth so that when my time's up we've got a number of options."

Paine's wallet stolen from car after he parks outside to convert garage into home gym

Paine's wallet was stolen from his car after he parked the vehicle on the street outside his home in Hobart to convert his garage into a gym.

His makeshift practice area, where he was trying to work on his cover drive, was just a day old when Paine woke up this morning to realise that his car had been broken into.

"I've actually just turned the garage into a bit of a home gym and I want to hang the (stocking) off the bit where the garage door opens," he told 'SEN Breakfast'.

"I figured if I can, I can work on my cover drive while I'm at it, but I've actually hit a bit of a snag today because I moved the car out onto the street only to wake up this morning to a text from NAB saying my credit card has been used.

"I went out and the (car) door was open and my wallet and a few other things had gone. Actually looking at my account, the boys went straight to Maccas the boys must have been hungry."

With Smith's leadership ban ending recently, there are doubts over Paine's future as Australia Test captain but he was supportive of the former skipper regaining the captaincy.

"When I'm in the role (as captain), I plan to use him as much as I can," he said.

"He was an excellent captain for me to play under. I hoped when this was all going on he would get the opportunity to lead his country again.

"He's got one of the great cricket brains so when we're out there, I enjoy getting his feedback and I'm sure we'll continue to do that for the next little bit," he added.

With the world in lockdown, Paine is currently enjoying his time at home with his wife and two children.

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AustraliaTimothy David PaineSteven Peter Devereux Smith

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