News – Cricket: Cameron Bancroft has signed to play in the next county cricket season with Somerset in April.
- TIM Paine’s Tasmanian teammate Jackson Bird believes the Test gloveman is as mentally strong as anyone he has met and could push through his personal challenges to make an impact on Boxing Day.
- Bird, who is expected to play himself at the MCG as fellow paceman Mitch Starc struggles to overcome a bruised heel, said Paine had shown his mental steel in getting back to Test cricket and could rise to his latest challenge.
- “It’s a terrible time for Tim and his family … the thoughts of the Australian team, our families and the Australian public are with him,” Bird said on Saturday.
- Bird, who made his Test debut on Boxing Day in 2012 and also played the most recent of his eight Tests at the MCG last summer, said he was “ready to go” if called upon.
- “Mitch has still got a couple of days of training to try and recover,” Bird said.