Ponting: Paine could be long-term answer
Australia great Ricky Ponting feels Tim Paine could be in for a lengthy spell in the Test side.
He was a shock selection when the team for the first Test at the Gabba was announced, but Ponting feels the 32-year-old has earned his recall.
When he's out there playing well, he looks as good as any of the other batters around the country.Ricky Ponting
Even though he hasn't been Tasmania's first-choice keeper, and has almost seen his career ended by a succession of finger injuries, Paine has won the nod over Matthew Wade for the start of the Ashes series.
Ponting said there had never been any doubt about his wicketkeeping ability, adding: "I've said for a long time, that he's clearly the best keeper in the country and over the years we've seen glimpses of how good a batsman he actually is."
Paine was used as a specialist opener at the start of his first-class career more than a decade ago, and Ponting said he was technically a very correct player.
He added: "When he's out there playing well, he looks as good as any of the other batters around the country.
"If he can nail some good performances these first few Test matches then that will obviously secure his spot for the rest of this series. Which could then mean he's Australia's gloveman for the next few years."
The right-hander showed timely form with a half-century against England in a tour match last week.
Then after scoring an unbeaten 71 against Victoria this week playing as a specialist batsman, selectors decided he was their best bet with the likes of Wade and his Test predecessor Peter Nevill failing to do enough in the early Shield rounds.
Australia are 1.72 to win the first Test against England, who are 3.75 with the draw 4.75.
Australia are 1.66 to have a first innings lead.
View all Cricket betting