Hobart Hurricanes open to Tim Paine being added to BBL squad

Hobart Hurricanes have left the door ajar for former Test captain Tim Paine to make a cameo in the BBL this summer.

Hurricanes coach Jeff Vaughan said Paine could potentially fill the final vacant spot on the franchise’s list.

“He’s two weeks back into his training schedule again [and has] been really good in the nets,” Vaughan said on Tuesday. “[He’s] good physically, good emotionally. Look, there’s a chance, but he’ll be one of a number of players we’ll look at for that last position.”

Paine quit as Test skipper and stepped away from the sport in the lead-up to last year’s Ashes series against England after it was revealed he sent lewd messages to a female Cricket Tasmania employee in 2007.

Vaughan said Hurricanes would have discussions over coming days about the last roster spot, but may not make a call until some Sheffield Shield and domestic one-day cricket has been played.

Hurricanes, who start their BBL season on December 16 against the Melbourne Stars, have wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and part-time gloveman Ben McDermott on their books.

“[Paine has] been keeping and telling us how good he’s going. We all have faith and trust in his keeping skill set,” Vaughan said. “He’s very much training as he was 12, 18 months ago.”

Former Australia and Tasmania captain Ricky Ponting, who is working as head of strategy at the Hurricanes, has previously said Paine would “fit perfectly” into the squad.

Paine has played 43 matches for Hobart, the last in BBL07, and scored 1119 runs at a strike rate of 122 and average of 27.98.

Hurricanes on Tuesday announced the signing of fast bowler Billy Stanlake, who negotiated a release from his contract with Stars. Stanlake, who hasn’t played competitive cricket since May last year, is on the comeback trail from a back stress fracture.

The 27-year-old is also part of the Tasmania squad, after making the switch from Queensland in the off-season.