Australia’s Paine to have neck surgery

Tim Paine was appointed Australia Test captain in March 2018 after Steve Smith stepped down because of his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal

Australia Test captain Tim Paine is confident he will be fit for the Ashes despite needing surgery to treat a pinched nerve in his neck.

Paine, 36, has been suffering pain in his neck and left arm which has been caused by a bulging disc.

He expects to be back in full training by next month, with the first Ashes Test against England scheduled to begin in Brisbane on 8 December.

“I will be ready to go by the first Test,” said Paine.

“The consensus of the spinal surgeon and the Cricket Australia medical team was to have the surgery now which will allow plenty of time to fully prepare for the summer.”

Australia retained the Ashes with a 2-2 draw in England in 2019, the first drawn Ashes series since 1972.

Cricket Australia expects this year’s series to go ahead as planned despite some England players suggesting they may pull out if Covid-19 restrictions stop them from taking their families.

As well as the Ashes, Australia are also scheduled to host their first Test against Afghanistan from 26 November, though Cricket Australia (CA) says it will cancel the match if reports that the women’s team cannot play under Taliban rule are true.

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