Paine injury would prompt call for cavalry

Rob Forsaith
·2-min read

Australia's selectors settled on a 17-man squad to cover all sorts of contingencies during the Test series against India but Alex Carey could still be a hasty inclusion if anything happens to Tim Paine.

Biosecurity protocols will make it impossible for any last-minute additions to be parachuted into the squad on the eve of a match.

Australia and India will also need to have COVID-19 substitutes available if any players fall ill during a Test, another reason for the enlarged squad sizes.

But Tim Paine was the only wicketkeeper in Ausralia's squad named on Thursday, with former Test keeper Matthew Wade now playing as a specialist batsman.

Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns confirmed Wade would take the gloves "at very short notice and in an emergency".

"If it was an injury (to Paine) that occurred between games then we would have the chance and time to bring another wicketkeeper in," Hohns said.

Hohns didn't nominate who would likely receive the SOS call.

However, limited-overs keeper Carey's presence in an Australia A squad for a pair of tour games suggests he would be the likely beneficiary of any setback for Paine.

Carey performed a similar role during the most recent Ashes series.

The 29-year-old wasn't part of Australia's 17-man squad in England last year but remained on call while playing county cricket and even kept wicket during one tour match.

Meanwhile, Hohns is upbeat that non-playing squad members will be able to join their respective BBL franchises at various points this summer.

"Returning them to the BBL will be a little bit easier than bringing players in. Of course, as we've done in the past seasons we will release players if the opportunity arises," he said.

"We want players playing as much as they can.

"Unfortunately right now the circumstances are a little different to normal, but history shows we've always tried to release players if and when we can."