Paine makes tidy return, Bumrah mystery grows, Warnie’s fitting tribute, Aussie women best ever

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Former Australian captain Tim Paine made a low key return to competitive cricket on Sunday in Tasmanian club cricket.

Playing for University of Tasmania in a one-dayer, Paine made an unbeaten 20 batting at first drop and was tidy behind the stumps as he firms for a Sheffield Shield berth later this week. Crucially, his competition for the wicket-keeping spot in Tasmania’s four-day team – Jake Doran – was in the field alongside Paine. 

It was Paine’s first match in 11 months and a straightforward eight-wicket win made it a successful return against the premiers in bowler-friendly conditions. 

The 37-year-old walked away from cricket before last summer’s Ashes to deal with personal issues. This followed a sexting scandal which was investigated by Cricket Australia. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing. 

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Though he remains an uncontracted state player, there are mechanisms to be upgraded if he plays enough Sheffield Shield games at the start of the summer. 

Ricky Ponting has been open in his desire to get Paine to the Hobart Hurricanes for the Big Bash, though the ex-Test keeper is yet to commit. The Hurricanes have a spot free on their roster. 

Paine played 35 Tests and though it remains unlikely he will ever wear the Baggy Green again, never officially retired from the format. 

Tasmania’s Sheffield Shield season begins on Thursday against Queensland.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 08: Tim Paine of Tasmania looks on during the Marsh One Day Cup match between Western Australia and Tasmania at the WACA on April 08, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Will Bumrah be fit for Cup?

Jasprit Bumrah is yet to be officially ruled out of the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia. 

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The right-arm quick is carrying a back injury and was rushed to India’s National Cricket Academy last week to undergo scans, according to ESPN Cricinfo. 

Despite being considered unfit for his country’s upcoming three-match series against South Africa, India’s hierarchy have their “fingers crossed” he will recover in time for the marquee tournament. “Bumrah is not out of the World Cup yet,” BCCI president Sourav Ganguly told the Xtra Time digital channel.  

India depart for Australia on October 6, where they will land in Perth, before travelling across to Brisbane a week later ahead of two practise matches against Australia and New Zealand.  Their tournament opener is on October 23, against Pakistan at the MCG. 

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According to reports, Bumrah’s scans will be analysed by an independent medical professional in conjunction with the team physio. A final decision is expected this week. 

A fitting tribute to Warnie

Three former English captains have united to pay a touching tribute to the late Shane Warne at a special place.

Warne famously shot two under in a pro-am at the Alfred Dunhill Links in Scotland in 2021, but passed away earlier this year after suffering a heart attack.

Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen were two of The King’s closest friends and played ample golf with him, while Joe Root had struck up a friendship with the great leggie in recent years. 

Together with media personality Piers Morgan, the quartet offered an emotional nod to Warne at a place he held dear to his heart. 

Aussie women greatest ever?

If you believe the International Cricket Council’s metrics, the current Australian Women’s team is the finest limited overs side ever.

In fact, they might be the best team in any format – male or female – of all time. 

They’ve won all 12 of their one-dayers in 2022, which included the World Cup in April. In addition, they sit 51 points clear of second-placed South Africa. That’s the biggest buffer a team has had over the next best team in men’s or women’s cricket history. 

This includes the all-conquering West Indian side of the 1980s, Steve Waugh’s team of the early 2000s, and any other dominant XI you can think of. The ICC knows this because it put together retrospective rankings a few years ago. 

Their dominance is remarkable. They’ve won 23 of 24 matches since the current ranking period began. But they won’t play an ODI until January, when Pakistan visit for three games across Brisbane and Sydney. 

The rankings system is a touch complex but rarely wrong. Any series completed between October 2019 and October 2021 carries a 50 per cent weighting, while any series since then is weighted at 100 per cent. 

Women’s ODI rankings

1. Australia – 170 rating points
2. South Africa – 119
3. England – 116
4. India – 104
5. New Zealand – 101
6. West Indies – 97

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