The Australian understands a decision was made to operate on the 36-year-old early this week to give him the best chance of recovery.Paine has been unable to train for six weeks and is reportedly in major discomfort. It had been hoped that rest and treatment would fix the problem, but it is getting worse not better.The Australian captain has a bone spur in his spinal column that must be operated on. It is restricting his movement and has kept him from any training.Former rugby and rugby league player Matt Rogers had similar surgery in 2006 and Melbourne Demons AFL player Nathan Jones underwent the procedure in 2016.Both made full recoveries and reported a new lease of life after the procedure.Doctors are hopeful Paine will be training within a month and will be fit to play in two weeks, leaving him four weeks to prepare for the summer.“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,” Paine said.“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 has played 35 Tests after making a late-career return to the team, but the back end of his career has been frustrated by Australia’s absence from the Test arena.Australia has played just four Tests since the 2019 Ashes, where England has played 20 in the past 18 months.If Paine was playing for England in the past two years he would have had the opportunity to play his 50th Test by now.The Australians look set to drop the Afghanistan Test from this summer’s calendar, robbing him of another opportunity.Meanwhile, Paine is in hot water with Afghanistan players, who took offence at his suggestion some countries or individuals might look to boycott playing them in the World Cup over the Taliban’s apparent decision to ban women’s cricket.Former Afghanistan captain Ashgar Afghan released an open letter to the Australian captain.“It requires too much of hard work and dedication to reach this level of cricket. For a less privileged cricketing nation as Afghanistan with zero infrastructure and support, reaching where we are right now and playing shoulder to shoulder with top 10 countries requires sheer determination, passion, and talent,” Aghan said in the letter.“Therefore, you should refrain from delivering aggressive statements which would result in isolating the Afghan cricket.”He claimed cricket was the No.1 sport in his country and followed by nearly 30 million people.“This shows, either you are unaware of the circumstances or talking out of contradiction; in any case, you are mistreating Afghan cricket and all the gains we have obtained with hardship in the past decade.”Paine spoke about Afghanistan on his SEN radio program.“I don’t think we want to be associated with countries that are taking opportunities or things off literally half their population,” Paine said. “We’ve heard nothing from the ICC, which is fascinating given there is a T20 World Cup in just over a month’s time. I’d imagine it’s impossible (for Afghanistan to take part) if teams are pulling out of playing against them and governments are not letting them travel to our shores.“How a team like that can be allowed to play in an ICC-sanctioned event is going to be very, very hard to see.”The ICC had a meeting scheduled for midway through the World Cup, but there is talk it is being brought forward to discuss the issue.