Melbourne: Wicketkeeper Tim Paine's career was thrown into jeopardy after South Australia's state coach Darren Berry revealed that the Aussie is far from playing first-class cricket due to his latest finger injury.
Berry said that he was "staggered at how bad the injury looked" when he met the national team back-up keeper during a Sheffield Shield game in Hobart.
"I could tell by watching him trying to make a fist he was a mile away from competitive cricket," Berry said.
Paine, who has played four Tests for Australia, broke the finger during a pre-season training session with Tasmania.
Originally expected to miss action for three months, he was ruled out for the whole season last week.
The 27-year-old was pressing incumbent Brad Haddin hard for a regular berth in both the Test and ODI team until the setback.
Berry wrote in Fairfax's Sun-Herald newspaper that Haddin can ill-afford to take it easy with the likes of Matthew Wade, Chris Hartley and Peter Nevill breathing down his neck.