Smith backs 'terrific' Paine ahead of Ashes

Steve Smith backed Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine, saying: "He's got a great presence out on the field and he's a terrific gloveman."

Australia's Tim Paine keeps wickets during England's tour game against Cricket Australia XI.   -  AFP

Australia captain Steve Smith praised Tim Paine and believes the wicketkeeper can deliver after his shock inclusion in the Ashes squad.

Paine was named in a 13-man Australia squad for the first two Tests against England despite last featuring in the five-day format for his country in 2010.

The 32-year-old almost retired earlier this year and was not keeping for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield this season, with Matthew Wade holding that spot.

READ: Australia's Paine pick an amazing Ashes gamble

However, Smith believes Paine can do a job for Australia ahead of the first Test beginning in Brisbane next week.

"I've known Tim for a very long time," he told a news conference on Friday.

"In fact, we debuted in the same game back in 2010. He's a guy who's got some incredible knowledge of the game, he's got a great presence out on the field and he's a terrific gloveman.

"His inclusion may have come as a bit of a surprise to a lot of people, but I'm excited by what he brings to the team and I'm sure he'll do a terrific job for us."

Paine was named with the other potential wicketkeeping candidates — Wade and Peter Nevill — struggling for runs.


Another surprise inclusion was Shaun Marsh, who won the battle for the number six spot despite just 236 runs at 39.33 so far this Sheffield Shield this season.

Asked about Marsh, Smith said: "Obviously he's been opening the batting so number six is a spot where you can potentially face the second new ball so he's been doing that.

"He scored some good runs against us [New South Wales] at Hurstville Oval against the Test attack and he's hitting the ball really well.

"I think [Western Australia coach] Justin Langer has been saying for some time he's in the form of his life and it looked like he was batting incredibly well so I'm confident in the six batters that we picked that they can do a terrific job."

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