Coach Adam Griffith has declared there is no longer room for Test captain Tim Paine inside the best Hobart Hurricanes side heading into next week’s Big Bash finals.
The startling admission comes ahead of their final preliminary match on Saturday night after securing top spot in Thursday’s home win.
Paine would have to play against Sydney Thunder in Canberra to qualify for finals.
“I’m a big fan of sticking with what we’ve done so far and not flirting with form,” Griffith said after sticking with an unchanged side.
“We’ve got to back in the guys we’ve got there. They’ve done the job and they’ve got us to where we’ve got to.
“Obviously, Tim as the Australian captain, it would be great to have him in the team, but we have to back in the guys that we have.
“This is a good chance for Tim to have a spell and get ready for what’s to come with The Ashes being pretty huge.”
Ben McDermott or Jake Doran could take the gloves should Matthew Wade fall to injury.
Griffith quietly spoke to Paine, insisting the 34-year-old is comfortable to sit out.
“That’s the beauty of Painey – we had a couple of conversations around it, even with us in the box,” he said.
“That’s what’s good about him; Tim’s a great team man.
“He understands the team that we have has done the job so far and he could be disruptive if we change that.”
Last year Paine came into the Canes late in the season and only scored eight and one at the top of the order.
But Griffith denied those figures had any bearing on the keeper’s snubbing at the end of the Test summer.
“It’s purely on what’s happening this season,” he said.
“That was a long time ago. We’ve now got the best opening combination [Wade and D’arcy Short] in the country.”