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Australia captain Tim Paine is set to undergo neck surgery, but team physicians are optimistic the wicket-keeper batsman will be ready before the Ashes.
According to a statement issued by Cricket Australia, Paine has been experiencing pain in his neck and left arm as a result of a bulging disc. A spinal surgeon advised him to have the operation to release the strain on the nerve.
It is expected that Paine would be fit to return to action in early November, which would leave him a month to prepare for the first Test against England, which is currently scheduled to start on December 8 in Brisbane.
"The consensus of the spinal surgeon and the CA medical team was to have the surgery now which will allow plenty of time to fully prepare for the summer. I expect to be able to restart physical activity by the end of this month and be back in full training in October. I will be ready to go by the first Test and am very much looking forward to what will be a huge summer," Paine said.
Australia are scheduled to host Afghanistan in a one-off Test, starting November 27 in Hobart, but that match is set to be scrapped because of the Taliban's stance regarding women's sport.
Cricket Australia is expected to plan an alternate Ashes warm-up, although it is unclear whether it would be an intra-squad match, a tour game with England, or a substitute Test.