Following hip surgery, Paine free to follow his Oz dream

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London, Sep.19 (ANI): Australia's latest one-day centurion - wicket-keeper Tim Paine - must be thanking his stars that hip surgery finally worked for him, and allowed him to fulfill a dream of playing for his country.

Last year also, Paine wasn't certain where his cricket career stood, after requiring arthroscopic surgery on both hips.

On Thursday, however, he stood tall with his maiden international century to lead Australia to the No. 1 ranking, reports The Age.

The 24-year-old's innings of 111 was the sign of maturity and composure that skipper Ricky Ponting was looking for.

Paine had been troubled by hip problems since he was 17 and renowned hip specialist Michael Pritchard gave the Tasmanian a new lease.

"The range of motion I have now is amazing. I'm not sore at the end of the day and I won't be struggling to get through matches behind the wickets any more," he was quoted, as saying.

He also admitted that he felt pressure early in his career to play the swashbuckling role fulfilled by Brad Haddin - who he is covering for while the No. 1 wicketkeeper recovers from finger surgery - and Adam Gilchrist.

"I think I did maybe a couple of years ago [I tried to be like them] and that's something I've learnt being in the change rooms with these blokes, that everyone plays differently and the best way for you to play is the way you play and not trying to copy anyone else," Paine said.

"I guess I was in a bit of a positive situation, I couldn't really lose, so I'm just trying to enjoy my time until he comes back and still trying to do my role in the team, which is to keep well and score runs," he added. (ANI)

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