The national cricket captain has always been one of the most scrutinised positions in Australian sport and Ian Healy has become the latest big name to weigh in on the debate around current skipper, Tim Paine.
The 36-year-old was the subject of an on-air stoush between two former cricket greats during Australia's first Test win against India in Adelaide.
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Spin King Shane Warne argued that Paine needed to score more runs to justify his place in the Test XI, while Michael Hussey said his leadership and the fact he's the best wicketkeeper in the country, justified his selection.
As it turned out, Paine left Warne eating his words somewhat after top-scoring with a crucial 73 not out, in a captain's knock that ultimately helped the home side claim a a famous victory.
The last time India toured Australia, Paine was dismissed as nothing more than a temporary captain by Virat Kohli - a man installed purely to clean up the mess after the 'Sandpapergate' scandal and guide Australia into a new era of cricket, based around fair play.
Many cricket critics pointed to Paine's age and suggested that his time at the Australian helm would inevitably come to and end sooner rather than later.
However, former Test wicketkeeper Healy says the 36-year-old Tasmanian has done more than enough to put off retirement plans for at least three years.
Paine could remain skipper for ‘three more years’
"I'm expecting him to play for quite long because he started so late - and it looks like he's in great shape physically and doing it well," Healy told The Age.
"He's got a job to do so that will keep him interested, keep him motivated to get that Australian side on top again and in the hearts of Australians.
"He's led a massive cultural revolution, which has got to be draining, so I don't have a problem if he does surprise me and finish before I reckon he will because he's taken on so much, but I think he's about to reap the rewards and enjoy it a lot more. I've got no problems saying three more years."
Healy - himself a handy middle order batsman as well as one of Australia's best keepers - said he spoke with Paine before the Adelaide Test about his batting.
The 56-year-old started working with the skipper on his batting during the fourth Test in last year's successful Ashes campaign, with Paine struggling for form at the time.
Healy said his advice to the captain was to trust himself and commit to playing aggressively when the opportunity arose - an approach that has paid dividends for Paine.
"All I said to him was just put bad balls away, look for them and put them away. If it's a clip to leg, clip it hard. If it's a cut shot, go at it. Bat like a keeper and that's what he's done," Healy added.
Paine has averaged close to 43 runs in the eight Test since he started working with Healy and will be approaching 50 Tests as skipper if the former great's prediction comes true and he's still leading the side for the 2023 Ashes tour.
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