Smith and Warner are expected to be a part of the series on their return after a ban of 12 months for being involved in ball-tampering against South Africa. Stressing on their importance in the team, Paine said, “I think everyone to a degree has to earn their stripes. I think those two have got plenty of runs in the bank if you like.”
“Look, I see us going to the Ashes and them having a huge part in us winning the series. That’s how I see how important they are to this team. We know how good they are and hopefully once their bans are up they’ll be welcomed back and they will win Test matches like they did before,” he added.
Paine felt that the board has gone a long way in winning the respect back from cricket fans after the ball-tampering scandal. “We spoke at the start of the summer that our main priority was to win back the respect of our Australian public and cricket fans. Sitting here now, I think we’ve gone a long way to doing that,” he said.
Looking to build a team with plenty of depth, Paine said, “What we have seen over this summer is we are starting to build a squad with plenty of depth. There’s probably anywhere between 16 and 25 players we think are now in the mix, which is a really good place to be.”
Paine said that all the Australian players are looking forward to play the Ashes series against England. “I’ve been dreaming about it actually,” he said. “I’m happy now that we’ve got this (Sri Lanka series) out of the way and I can put everything into it because every Australian cricketer can’t wait to go and play an Ashes series, particularly in England.”