Paine to have neck surgery ahead of Ashes

Tim Paine is set to miss the start of Tasmania's domestic season because of neck surgery but the Test skipper is adamant he will be fit for the Ashes series.

TIM PAINE of Australia during the 4th Sunfoil Test match between South Africa and Australia at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.
TIM PAINE of Australia during the 4th Sunfoil Test match between South Africa and Australia at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Tim Paine insists he will recover from neck surgery in time to captain Australia in the Ashes.

Paine was slated to start his Sheffield Shield campaign on September 28, when Tasmania face Queensland in Brisbane.

The wicketkeeper, who on Tuesday undergoes an operation to repair a pinched nerve in his neck, will instead be sidelined in the early stages of the domestic season.

Australia are upbeat Paine will resume light training by the end of this month.

The veteran is set to be cleared to play in eight to 10 weeks, meaning he may be able to squeeze in at least one Shield game before linking up with the Test squad.

"I will be ready to go by the first Test and am very much looking forward to what will be a huge summer," Paine said in a statement.

The Ashes are slated to start on December 8, giving the 36-year-old plenty of time to prove his fitness for the Gabba series opener.

However, any form of setback could cast doubt on Paine's prospects of facing England.

Paine, who required seven rounds of surgery to repair a recurring finger injury that started in 2010 and threatened to end his career, has demonstrated plenty of stoicism in recent years.

But Cricket Australia (CA) and a spinal surgeon agreed last week that the bulging disc required an operation.

"Which will allow plenty of time to fully prepare for the summer," Paine said.

Paine and teammates haven't played a Test since suffering an unforgettable loss to India at the Gabba in January.

Australia are scheduled to host Afghanistan in a one-off Test, starting November 27 in Hobart, but that match is set to be scrapped because the Taliban's stance regarding women's sport.

CA is likely to arrange an alternate Ashes tune-up but it remains unclear whether it will be an intra-squad contest, tour game involving England, or replacement Test.

Australia opener Beth Mooney, whose side start a multi-format women's series against India next week, came out strongly in support of CA's stance regarding the men's Test against Afghanistan.

"One of the driving forces of Australian cricket is making sure we provide cricket as a sport for all," Mooney said on Monday.

"If we're not advocating for women's cricket around the country and globe - and supporting women's cricket globally - then we're not putting our money where our mouth is and showing what we stand for."

Meanwhile, former Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan has criticised Paine for opining that teams may consider boycotting the Taliban-ruled nation at the Twenty20 World Cup.

The International Cricket Council is yet to discuss Afghanistan's member status - and participation in the World Cup - since the Taliban's return to power.

"You should refrain from delivering aggressive statements which would result in isolating the Afghan Cricket," Afghan posted in an online message directed at Paine.