It has been quite the comeback story for Tim Paine ever since the wicketkeeper batsman made his Australia return after a gap of seven years in the 2017-18 Ashes series Down Under.
Since then, the Tasmanian has ascended to the Australia Test captaincy in the most unexpected of manners following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year and he now stands on the verge of leading the visitors to their first Ashes series win on English soil since 2001.
At 34, Paine is at the tail-end of his playing career but the wicketkeeper batsman is in no mood to retire any time soon after picking up a second wind.
“Not for me, not at the moment,” Paine replied when asked if he would consider retiring after the final Ashes Test against England which begins at the Oval on Thursday.
“I’m loving doing what I’m doing, and I think while you’ve got a job that you love you try and do it for as long as you can. I did miss a lot, I suppose, in the prime years of my cricket career.
“The positive of that now is that physically I’m in really good condition for my age, and feel really good after Test matches physically. Mentally, it’s a different story but it only takes a day to recover from that.
“While I keep enjoying it, I’ll keep doing it.”
The ongoing Ashes series has kick-started the inaugural ICC World Test Championship which will culminate after a two-year cycle with the top two teams battling it out in a one-off match at Lord’s in 2021. Paine would be 36 by the time that final comes around but the Australian is hesitant to mark it down as his future retirement date.
“I haven’t thought about it to be honest,” Paine said when asked if he would consider the end of the two-year cycle as a potential retirement point.
“I haven’t thought much past this Test match, as I’ve said in the last 18 months, I think it’s foolish at my age if you do. I’m enjoying what I’m doing and whilst I can continue to contribute in some way, I’ll continue to do it.
“I constantly talk to JL (Justin Langer) and Trevor Hohns (Australia selection chief) about what might happen or how long I might go on for, but I think we’re all comfortable and we’re all on the same page.”
Paine and his men have already retained the urn on English soil after a gap of 18 years but the Australia skipper is determined to finish with an outright series win.
“We came here to win the Ashes. We didn’t come here to retain them,” Paine stated.
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