Test captain sent on India spy mission

Steve Larkin
·2-min read

Australia captain Tim Paine is on a tour-game spying mission of India leading into this summer's highly-anticipated Test series.

Paine is in a 19-man Australia A squad to play two three-day games against the Indians next month.

Three opening batsmen - Test incumbent Joe Burns, Will Pucovski and Marcus Harris - are also in the squad for tour matches in Sydney from December 6-8 and December 11-13.

Nine members of the Test squad are in the 'A' squad.

And Paine will play at least one of the games as a double agent: match practice, and studying the Indians ahead of first Test starting December 17 in Adelaide.

"It gives our players the opportunity to have a look at the Indian players," chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns told reporters on Thursday.

"We're going to use the Australia A games for some of our Test players, given that some won't have played any cricket between now and then.

"There are others that will get some white-ball cricket in.

"But particularly those that won't be playing any cricket between now and the Test match, we will certainly be using the Australia A games to give us an indication of where some of our players are at."

Hohns also promised players in Australian squads would be released when possible to their BBL franchise.

His pledge comes amid a dispute between the Seven Network and Cricket Australia over the value of the summer's broadcast rights.

Seven is seeking to pay less, fearing the BBL will be diminished by a lack of front-liners playing due to being in hubs under coronavirus protocols.

"Returning them to the BBL, I think, will be a little bit easier than bringing players in (to the Australian squad)," Hohns said.

"Of course we want our players playing as much as we can.

"Unfortunately right now the circumstances are a little bit different to normal.

"But ... as history shows, we always try to release players back to their Big Bash clubs if and when we can."

Australia A squad:

Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Jackson Bird, Alex Carey, Harry Conway, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Mark Steketee, Will Sutherland, Mitchell Swepson.