Former Australia Test captain Tim Paine is set to return to play first-class cricket for Tasmania in the 2022-2023 season following fruitful discussions with Cricket Tasmania CEO Dom Baker, sen.com.au reported on Monday.
The 37-year-old, who had stepped down ahead of the Ashes series last year in the wake of the sexting scandal involving a former Cricket Tasmania official, has reportedly started training over the last couple of weeks.
The report said the wicketkeeper-batter looked “fresh” and has shown “excellent touch” after such a long layoff.
Paine’s playing career was thought to be over after he was omitted from Tasmania’s list of contracted players in May this year and it seemed unlikely he would find a route back into the team. After taking time away from cricket following his captaincy resignation, Paine returned to the Tasmanian cricket fold in an unofficial coaching role late last season.
His playing future remained uncertain until the release of Tasmania’s contract list in May, with his on-field career appearing to have ended after 35 Tests and 147 first-class matches.
Paine last played for Tasmania in a second XI game in late November, 2021 as he attempted to prove his fitness for the Ashes after undergoing a complicated neck surgery. He was in the squad for the Marsh One-Day Cup game for Tasmania on November 26 but announced on the morning of the match that he was going on an indefinite break.
The report on Monday said that there was no indication Paine would play for the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League (BBL).