Selection fight: Paine hopes to remain captain of ODI side
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Selection fight: Paine hopes to remain captain of ODI side

Tim Paine says he has the game to be a part of Australia's best one-day international side but would harbour no grudges should he be stripped of the captaincy.

Paine, 33, is under pressure to retain the ODI captaincy, for he was only given the role for the mid-year series in England, where the tourists were winless in five matches.

He made only 36 runs at 7.2 in five innings at a time when the team was experimenting with the batting line-up in the absence of suspended pair David Warner and Steve Smith. However, he is a class batsman who has proven himself in the game's short form, scoring a century and five half-centuries in 35 ODIs.

Tim Paine hopes to hold on to the ODI captaincy.

Tim Paine hopes to hold on to the ODI captaincy.Credit:PA

Cricket insiders expect he will be replaced before Australia's next one-day series, at home against South Africa in November, with the selectors' bigger-picture focus on next year's World Cup defence in England.

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Paine, set to lead Australia in a two-Test series against Pakistan next month, said he hoped to retain the top role in the 50-overs format.

"I am completely comfortable either way. I obviously would like to do it ... if I continue to do it, great, but if not, it's a real opportunity for me to focus on Test cricket and do that as well as I can," he said.

Asked if he felt he was in Australia's best team, Paine replied: "I think so. I feel I can do the job, no doubt about that. The wicketkeeper role in our best one-day team is batting down the order and doing a good job with the gloves. No doubt that's a job I feel I can do. But if it's not to be, it's not to be. I am happy either way."

South Australian Alex Carey has strong claims to take the gloves and can potentially provide greater power hitting in the lower order. Carey is the Australia A gloveman on the tour of India, having also played in two of the ODIs in England, making six and 44.

All-rounder Mitch Marsh has strong support for the captaincy, while Victorian Aaron Finch, who has four centuries in his past 11 ODI innings, is also in the frame.

Paine's captaincy was not helped by not having Australia's best three fast bowlers – Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins – available for the England trip. It left him in charge of an inexperienced attack and a batting line-up still finding its way.

England responded with some superb batting, maintaining the up-tempo and fearless style they displayed when winning the one-day series in Australia last summer.

"England were playing an unbelievable brand of cricket at the time. Everything was going really well for them. They were too good for us," Paine said.

"Coming out of that tour, we found out about a number of our players. As I said, a lot of our guys will come back into that team for the World Cup. Australia will be taking a very competitive team to that World Cup, no doubt."

Marsh has emerged as a strong vice-captaincy option for Paine in the United Arab Emirates next month but Usman Khawaja's strong form in India has enhanced his claims.

"He [Marsh] certainly had a hell of a summer last year, particularly with the bat. He is someone who has been spoken about. To see him captain Australia A, he is starting to come of age as a cricketer," Paine said.

"Regardless of whether he is vice-captain or not, he is a great team man and always puts the team first. I am sure that won't change."

The Test squad, which could feature three spinners, is expected to be named on Tuesday.

Jon Pierik is a sports writer with The Age, focusing primarily on AFL football, cricket and basketball. He has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.