Birmingham: Tim Paine's immediate focus is on retaining the Ashes but the Australian Test captain is also keeping a close eye on another of his sporting passions.
Paine is a keen basketballer and has been approached by the National Basketball League to be an ambassador for a new franchise in Tasmania.
NBL owner Larry Kestelman confirmed the league had approached Paine to help with what the league hopes will be a 10th franchise, as early as the 2020-21 season.
"We are in discussions with the Tasmanian government about a 10th team based in Tasmania. Weve reached out to a number of people, including Tim Paine, who is a great supporter of local basketball in Tasmania and also attended NBL games," Kestelman said.
“A lot of athletes, including the cricketers, love their hoops and wed love to have them on board as we continue to grow the NBL. Tim has already shown his support for a team in Tasmania and we now want to see as many Tasmanians show their support.”
Tasmania has not had a NBL franchise since the Devils were axed in 1996 when the league also shuttered the Geelong Supercats and Gold Coast Rollers.
Paine is a strong supporter of the NBL and attended games last season, having a photograph taken with Andrew Bogut after the Sydney Kings had played in Perth against the Wildcats during Australia's Test against India.
The NBL has stepped up its push into Tasmania, with this year's pre-season competition to be held there from September 19-22.
"Tasmania is a great sporting state and we want basketball to be its No. 1 sport," Kestelman said.
The league has opened talks with the Glenorchy City Council in a bid to purchase the Derwent Entertainment Centre outside Hobart and land nearby at Wilkinsons Point.
The NBL hopes the Tasmanian government endorses the proposal by providing funds to upgrade the stadium.
Kestelman has said the new franchise would play NBL matches at the entertainment centre but some home games could be held in Launceston, provided there was a suitable venue.
Paine is leading the Australia A squad through two four-day matches in England. They opened with a 10-wicket win over Sussex, a victory established by a double-century opening stand between Marcus Harris and Joe Burns and a strong all-round bowling performance, with James Pattinson reinforcing why he shapeRead More – Source