Australia Test captain Tim Paine to undergo surgery before Ashes

Australia test cricket captain Tim Paine is set to undergo surgery on his neck in a bid to be fit for the Ashes series against England starting in December.

Cricket Australia released a statement on Monday saying the 36-year-old wicketkeeper would undergo surgery this week for a pinched nerve in his neck and was likely to be back at training in October.

Australia is scheduled to host the Ashes starting Dec. 8, although the England squad has expressed concerns about quarantine and travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic and that has led to some uncertainty about the tour.

Paine’s training has been affected by pain in his neck and left arm caused by a bulging disc.

“The consensus of the spinal surgeon and the Cricket Australia medical team was to have the surgery now which will allow plenty of time to fully prepare for the summer,” Paine said in a statement. “I will be ready to go by the first test.”

Paine won’t be part of Australia’s squad for the Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates starting next month and his focus is on the test format.

The Australians haven’t played a test match since a series loss at home to India in January.

A match against Afghanistan in Hobart scheduled to start Nov. 27 has been in doubt since the Taliban resumed control of that country.