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Ian Healy names backup if Tim Paine fails to regain fitness before Ashes

Former Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy feels that Australia needs to have a backup plan for Tim Paine, who has recently undergone surgery on a pinched nerve in his neck, leading to questions over his availability for home summer that is (un)likely to go underway with a one-off Test against Afghanistan in Hobart followed by the Ashes, which starts from December 8 in Brisbane. 

Cricket Australia, in a statement released on September 13, revealed that Paine is understood to be suffering from due to ‘a bulging disc which reduced his ability to train at full intensity and has not responded to treatment’.

Even as Paine remains optimistic to regain complete fitness for the high-profile Ashes, Healy, one of the game’s finest wicketkeepers himself, reckons that Australia must have a contingency plan.

“I don’t think he (Paine) would have been right for that Afghanistan Test,” Healy said on SEN’s Pat and Heals.

“Any injury to ‘Painey’ will mean Cricket Australia will need to manipulate this right. Alex Carey is the number two at the moment in full format cricket – i.e., four or five days – he’s lost his spot in the shorter formats to Matthew Wade and Josh Inglis has been pumped in from WA.

“I would say, Alex Carey, you can still get five years out of him, he’s 30 and has played little cricket. He’d be right to do a job for the Test team probably as good as ‘Painey’, he’s a great batsman.”

Healy also touched upon Australia’s 15-man T20 World Cup squad that had a surprise inclusion in the form of Josh Inglis. However, Healy feels that his devastating form justifies his inclusion.

“Inglis is probably more devastating with the bat than all of them,” Healy said.

He further reckoned that if included, Inglis must be used as the team’s keeper. “If you’re going to play Inglis in the T20 World Cup, then you should wicket keep with him, don’t have him in there as just a batsman.

“Matthew Wade has to really get going with the bat if he wants to keep his spot in those short format games.”

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