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Paine focused on Test Championship final and not Ashes in Australia

Last July the Tasmanian became the first Australian Test captain since Steve Waugh in 2001 to retain the urn in England.

Australia captain Tim Paine is focusing on winning the ICC World Test Championship final next June at Lord’s and not on leading his country in the 2021-22 Ashes, he told reporters.

Captaining Australia during the home series against England was “not something that I’ve thought too much about at the moment”, Paine said, adding that his focus was on the “Test Championship final and winning that, I haven’t looked any further than that”.

Governing body Cricket Australia had not flagged changes to or the postponement of Paine’s side’s two-match tour of Bangladesh in June due to the pandemic, the captain said.

However, Paine said he and his players would accept any changes to their schedules.

“There are bigger issues going on around the world right now,” he said.

“The whole situation at the moment is bigger than any sport.

“What’s important is that the world gets back on track and people around the world are healthy and living normal lives again.”

Those changes could extend to cuts in a future pay deal, with the current agreement expiring in mid-2022.

Paine said players were not at that point yet but would “do our bit” when called on.

Paine smiled and chuckled when told that England captain Joe Root had watched the recent Amazon Prime Video behind-the-scenes documentary The Test and was using it as motivation ahead of the next Ashes.

“If that’s given Joe motivation, that’s fantastic. Our intention was to give fans some insight more than opposition captains, but that’s fantastic anyway.”

Feedback on the programme had been “positive, though I’m not sure if that’s just because I’m the captain” with fans from Paine’s grade club and those on the street telling him they enjoyed being taken into the dressing room during a tumultuous time.

Like many non-essential workers, Paine is isolating at home in Hobart where he said he was “enjoying spending time with my kids and my wife”.

Just like when he is on the pitch, he had a clear plan for the weeks ahead:  “I’ll be doing a bit more gardening and there’ll be plenty more time watching The Wiggles.”

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