George Bailey, the Tasmanian who has played more games of cricket with Tim Paine than any other, believes the wicket-keeper's experience of teetering on the brink of giving the game away professionally, may be the defining feature of his national leadership tenure.

The fact Australia's 46th Test captain was sitting on the domestic cricket 'scrapheap' only a summer before rising to that post, will go down as one of this country's most remarkable sporting comeback stories.

Paine had looked destined for a long international career when he made his debut for Tasmania aged 20 and assumed the gloves on a full-time capacity the following summer.

By 24, he was in Australia's one-day side and the following year he received his Baggy Green alongside fellow debutant Steve Smith at Lord's.

None could have predicted the circumstances in which their two paths would cross again eight years later.

Nor could one have foreseen the misfortune that Paine would suffer during those years.

Seven bouts of surgery on his right index finger slowly derailed his career, which incapacitated both form and confidence.

"I think he's garnered a greater appreciation for other members of the team and a bit of an empathy for what different people go through," Bailey explained to after delivering the main address at the MCC's Bradman Luncheon recently.

"He was such a superstar at a young age and had such a meteoric rise – he probably didn't understand what it was like for someone on the fringe or someone who was struggling.

"For Painey to go through that same situation and feel those emotions and know what it feels like to be almost on the outer of a team … this comes with age and having children no doubt as well as the injuries."

Paine’s growth as a leader was something Bailey began to notice during the 2016-17 season, when the wicket-keeper spent the majority of the season out of Tasmania's Sheffield Shield side as Jake Doran was preferred behind the stumps.

But even when recalls to Australia's T20 side and Tasmania's four-day team materialised during the same week in February last year, Paine was contemplating life after elite cricket.

He was close to taking up a job with cricket equipment manufacturer Kookaburra and had discussions with Premier Cricket clubs in Melbourne, before ultimately deciding to remain with Tasmania.

The rest of the story is well known...

Paine was a bombshell inclusion for the opening Test of the home summer only months later, despite still not being his State's first-choice keeper.

An accomplished Ashes campaign in his return and the disastrous events of South Africa saw him ushered in for a role he'd long ago been earmarked for.

From the verge of giving it all away to the second highest office in the land; it's an unconventional tale, but one Bailey says has Paine primed for the biggest task of his career.

"He had a year of basically playing second XI cricket for Tasmania and the influence he had was really profound," said Bailey, who has played 52 first-class matches alongside Paine.

"Just in understanding what players are going through and helping to devise ways of getting through tough periods.

"He just commands respect the way he goes about his business. He's a natural leader.

"It's possibly the tough Lauderdale (the beachside Hobart suburb Paine grew up in) upbringing that he had – you've got to be pretty street smart.

"He's in a great place for belief in his own game and I've got no doubt if not for some injures, he would have been in the positions that he's in (now) for a long period of time."

Both Bailey and Paine are involved in Cricket Australia's player review into the culture of the national teams following the Cape Town ball-tampering incident which saw three players banned, including captain Smith and his deputy David Warner, as well as prompting the resignation of coach Darren Lehmann.

Whatever the outcomes of the played-led inquiry, Paine and Lehmann's successor Justin Langer shape as the two most important figures in rebuilding the reputation of the men's Test team.

For Bailey, whose own hopes of an international return remain dimmed, despite calls in the frenzied days after Cape Town for his recall, Langer looms as an ideal partner for Paine.

"From what I've observed with the younger players in the Western Australian team, he works them particularly hard but from that work ethic he instils a great a sense of belief," Bailey said of Langer.

"You know that he genuinely cares about you and that's the reason he's pushing you so hard.

"He sees in a lot of people, who don’t see it themselves, the capacity to be great.

"I think he'll drag a lot of players who haven’t quite reached their potential to their best seasons.

"His passion and pride in the Australian cricket team is evident, you can't help but get caught up in that.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing the pair of them working together and putting their stamp on the team."

And, as Bailey explained in his speech to the MCC, sticking their own imprint on Australian cricket as a whole.

Describing Langer's first address to the Australian team following his appointment earlier this year, the Tasmanian opined: "What hit home as Justin was talking was the enormous amount the game has taught me.

"Mateship. Teamwork. Hard work. Battling adversity. Adaptability. Enjoyment. Sometimes pure, unbridled joy.

"All such valuable life lessons borne never out of the result, not out of a win or loss, not out of a win-at-all-costs mentality, but from being part of a team that can inspire, serve as role models and fill with happiness kids day-dreaming of their future right across the country."