Tim Paine: I lost all confidence after injury in 2010

The Australia captain admits he underwent a “downward spiral” after a career-threatening finger injury.

Tim Paine has played 31 Test matches for Australia.   -  Reuters

Australia captain Tim Paine has opened up on the struggles he endured after suffering an injury that threatened to derail his career in 2010. Paine admitted he underwent a “downward spiral” after the injury, sustained in a charity match by a cricket ball.

“I got to the stage where I was scared of getting hit, and I just had no idea what I was going to do,” he told Bounce Back podcast.

“From there it was just a downward spiral. I lost absolutely all confidence. I didn’t tell anyone about it. The truth is, one, I was scared of getting hit and two, I just didn’t know what I was going to do,” he said.

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“I couldn’t score runs for an extended period of time. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I was so nervous before games. I was horrible to live with,” he said.

He remembered he would be crying at home during this period of his career.

His recovery required visits to a sports psychologist.

“I wish I had sought help earlier. I was taught to just get on with it. But I now try and share with younger players that you need people to talk too and share.”

‘Fish out of water’

Paine had made his Test debut in July, 2010, and after playing four Tests, reappeared after seven years, in November, 2017. He was appointed captain of the Australian team after Steve Smith was demoted and suspended for a year due to his role in the ball-tampering scandal in 2018.

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When he was selected for the Ashes series of 2017-18, Paine said he had mixed feelings. “It went from an amazing feeling... And then I thought s***, that’s not good,” Paine said.

“I’m going to have to bat in front of people and there are going to be millions of people watching on television. And for three or four days after I thought I don’t want to do this. This is going to look horrible, I’m going to look like a fish out of water,” he added.

Paine, 35, has played 31 Test matches for Australia, and is a veteran of 135 first-class matches.

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