Ex-Test opener Joe Burns says his former Australian captain Tim Paine deserves to end his career “on his terms” and is thrilled about his return to the Sheffield Shield arena.
Queenslander Burns and Tasmanian Paine will be on opposing sides when the Bulls host the Tigers in a Shield match starting at Allan Border Field on Thursday.
However, while they will be rivals, Burns won’t let his competitive nature cloud his delight that Paine is returning to cricket following an 11-month exile after he stood down from the Australian team in November last year because of a sexting scandal.
“I’m really happy to see him playing again,” Burns said of Paine.
“It put a smile on my face when I read the article that he was in the Tassie team.
“It’s great to see him back on the field. I know how much he loves playing for Tassie.”
Burns praised Cricket Tasmania for its ongoing support of Paine.
“I’m really glad that they (CT) have given him the chance to compete again as a cricketer – it’s what he does best,” Burns said.
“He’s a great leader. I really enjoyed playing under him when he was Australia’s captain.
“I know what he’s been through, and I’m really proud that he’s got through it and he’s back playing.
“He’s a great competitor. He’s been such a servant of the game for Tasmanian cricket and Australian cricket that he deserves to go out on his terms, however that shapes up for him.
“I’m so glad that he’s got that fire in the belly to keep playing and keep competing.”
Burns said he was feeling refreshed for the new season after an overseas holiday.
“It was nice to have a bit of a break from the game after a few seasons of Covid bubbles,” he said.
“Going into this season, it feels like a proper season again. You can train properly, you can prepare properly, we’re not confined with restrictions – it feels like everyone’s in a more enjoyable headspace around the game.”
Burns hopes that leads to a better showing this season from the Bulls after a disappointing 2021-22 Shield campaign.
“We weren’t happy with our performance as a team last season in the Shield,” he said.
“We weren’t disciplined enough, we didn’t do the basics well enough or for long enough, and that’s not really the DNA of this side.
“We’ve had a really good pre-season, we’ve really knuckled down on the basics and it’s going to be nice to get out there with bat or ball and get stuck into the first day of the season.”