Tim Paine confident of Ashes fitness ahead of imminent neck surgery

Tim Paine has assured fans that he will be fit for the first Ashes Test against England after undergoing neck surgery, BBC Sport has reported. The Australia Test skipper requires treatment for a pinched nerve, a bulging disc having caused him some considerable pain there and in his left arm.

The decision was made by Cricket Australia and Paine’s spinal surgeon to have the operation sooner rather than later in order to allow the 36-year-old plenty of time to get himself back up to speed ahead of the Australian summer, the England series beginning in Brisbane on December 8.

Given his relative lack of big runs in the longest format, Paine, who averages just under 33, has been the subject of some debate over his relinquishing of the captaincy to Steve Smith, who is now eligible to re-assume the role after serving his time post-sandpapergate. That discussion seems to have had its fires doused for now, however, with Paine categorically stating that he will be ready to lead out his side in just under three months’ time.