That news comes amid revelations selection boss George Bailey will recuse himself from any vote over the playing future of Paine.
The wicketkeeper remains available for selection for the Ashes, despite quitting the captaincy in disgrace on Friday over a sexting scandal.
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He made his return to cricket yesterday in a second XI match for Tasmania, where he took six catches. That was Paine’s first match since April, with the 36-year-old undergoing surgery in the off-season on a pinched nerve in his neck.
According to Lawson, there’s still question marks over Paine’s fitness.
“He’s coming off surgery and he’s played virtually no cricket,” he told Wide World of Sports.
“Neck surgery can be tricky and wicketkeeping is very physical, lots of diving and moving. It’s Test cricket, it’s five days and in Brisbane it will likely be hot and humid.
“Your body has to be ready to play Test cricket.”
Lawson, who played 46 Tests for Australia and was part of winning Ashes teams in both 1982-83 and 1989, pointed out that there’s a big difference between a second XI match and a five-day Test.
“Given that his form last year wasn’t great, and physically I don’t think he’ll be ready for Brisbane, I just thought it was a stretch to name him in the squad, even when he was captain. I thought it required a bit more thought,” he said.
“Carey’s a terrific player, he’s played for Australia in white-ball cricket, there’s plenty of upside in picking Alex.
“For me, he’s good to go, there’s a couple of other names floating around, which is nice, it’s good to have pressure on each of the positions. Someone like Josh Phillipe is just around the corner, but I think Alex Carey is the man.”
Paine was last week named in Australia’s 15-man squad for the first two Tests, although that was picked before he resigned the captaincy.
Both Carey and Western Australia’s Josh Inglis were named in an extended squad for Australia A.
Speaking to the Cricket Et Cetera podcast, Bailey, who is in his first summer as selection boss, revealed he won’t vote on whether or not to retain Paine if the panel is divided.
“If the panel was not in agreeance with Tim’s position going forward and it was going to come down to a vote, then I would step aside and leave that to Tony (Dodemaide) and Justin (Langer) to work through,” Bailey said.
“They’re both aware of that.”
Bailey pointed out that Paine is both a close friend of his, as well as a business partner.
Paine’s future has been the subject of much discussion in the cricket world, with Shane Warne arguing Inglis would be a better selection, while his former teammate Mark Waugh suggested Carey should play in Brisbane.
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