Nice guy Paine doing all the right things when they count

Tasmania's Tim Paine has been doing an admirable job of filling in for Brad Haddin in the Australian line-up.
Tasmania's Tim Paine has been doing an admirable job of filling in for Brad Haddin in the Australian line-up.

VIZAG, India - Tim Paine has a vivid memory of Adam Gilchrist's first Test after replacing Ian Healy as Australian wicketkeeper.

It's not a pleasant one either.

"Gilly made his debut in Brisbane, and I think I can recall him walking out and even being booed at one stage," Paine said in Vizag, towards the end of the latest tour on which he has deputised most ably for Brad Haddin.

"Hopefully if Brad retires, I don't have to go to Sydney and cop the same treatment. That would be nice."

Nice is an apt word to describe the impression 25-year-old Paine has made with the Australian team during his increasingly frequent call-ups to deputise.

Each time Paine plays for Australia he is a step closer to taking over from Haddin, and each time he returns to the national side he feels more comfortable in revered company.

"I've obviously spent quite a bit of time in the team the last 12 months, almost as a permanent fixture at times," he said.

"I definitely feel a part of the team now and I feel comfortable when I come into the environment, which has probably helped.

"I think my performances when I've been given the chance have been good enough to suggest that when Brad's injured or finishes up I'll come straight into the side."

Whenever Paine does receive a more permanent commission, it will not get much tougher than India, a tour that has floored many predecessors, Haddin included.

From standing crazily close to intercept the bowling of Mitchell Johnson on low pitches, to battling through the best of Indian spin and pace to register meritorious scores of 92 and 59, Paine impressed.

He was learning all the time, too.

"I've never, ever stood that close, ever," Paine said of where he posted himself and a slim slips cordon at Mohali and Bangalore.

"The ball from someone like Mitch when it's flying through ... geez if you kept to him somewhere like the WACA you'd be standing nearly on the (fielding) circle.

"It'll probably make it a lot easier when I come back to Australia, I'll have a hell of a lot more time, even though I didn't consciously focus on technique, if you don't have a sound technique keeping in India you will get shown up.

"So without consciously working on it, it showed I was in a good place technically, and once I get back to Australia and I've got 10 more metres to catch the ball, I'll notice a huge difference."

There will also be a difference in Paine's voice on the field, having developed confidence in letting Ricky Ponting know what he sees from his valued observation post.

"I've never had a problem, particularly if I'm asked, to express an opinion, but I suppose I am more likely to volunteer it now," Paine said.

"It is the keeper's role, I may be seeing stuff that Ricky might not or Pup (vice-captain Michael Clarke) might not from the angles they're at, and it is up to me to share that and let them know or give them an idea."

In a batting order prone to folding in recent times, Paine has added steel and agrees that he offers stability where Haddin specialises in aggression.

Having adapted his game to the demands of Twenty20 cricket, Paine was also happy to re- discover a more grinding gear.

"No matter how you score your runs, whether it is digging in or playing your shots, the main thing is to be consistent, so for me in Test and Sheffield Shield cricket, the way for me is to bat for long times in occupation," he said.

"I think over the past year and a half in state cricket it is probably something I lost because I worked really hard on the T20 game, and that was something that really paid off.

"But then I found it hard last year after the Big Bash to pull it back and go back into how I used to play, which was batting long periods."

Paine said he knew that Haddin would be around to re- claim the gloves at the start of the home summer, and it is an arrangement he remained comfortable with.