Tim Paine has taken over as captain of the Australian Test cricket team following one of the country’s biggest and most embarrassing international scandals.
He has lost it after a more personal indiscretion.
Paine stepped down as test captain last Friday after being investigated by Cricket Australia for sending explicit text messages to a female colleague four years ago.
Veteran wicketkeeper Paine was mentioned in a News Corp. report as being at the center of the sexting scandal. The 36-year-old Paine appeared in the media on Friday in Adelaide to announce that he was resigning from the captain but wanted to remain a member of the test team.
The announcement comes less than three weeks before the start on December 8 in Brisbane of the five-test Ashes series against England.
Paine, who underwent surgery in September to repair a pinched nerve in his neck and is not sure to be a starter in the Ashes series, became test captain in March 2018 after Steve Smith lost the role following the South African sandpaper scandal.
During the third Test match against South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town, Cameron Bancroft was caught by TV cameras trying to screw one side of the ball up with sandpaper. Smith and vice-captain David Warner turned out to be involved, and all three received sanctions from Cricket Australia, and when Smith was dumped as captain, Paine took charge.
“It’s an incredibly difficult decision, but the right one for me, my family and cricket,” Paine said. “As a background for my decision, I was involved in an SMS exchange with a colleague at the time almost four years ago.
“At the time, the exchange was the subject of a thorough CA integrity unit investigation, in which I fully participated and openly participated. Although I was acquitted, I deeply regretted this incident at the time, and I still do today.”
The messages come from 2017, months before Paine was recalled to the test team after a seven-year absence.
Cricket Australia’s statement said its board had accepted Paine’s resignation and would look into appointing a new Test captain.
“Tim felt it was in his family’s and Australian cricket’s interest to make this decision to step down as captain,” said CA chairman Richard Freudenstein. “While the Board acknowledges that an investigation cleared Tim of any breach of the Code of Conduct regarding this matter a few years ago, we respect his decision.
“CA does not tolerate this type of language or behavior. Despite the mistakes he made, Tim has been an exceptional leader since his appointment, and the board thanks him for his excellent service.”
Cricket Australia said Paine “will continue to be available for selection in the Test squad through the Ashes summer.” He was among the 15 players named Ashes earlier this week.
Paine said at the media conference that he believed the case had been dealt with several years ago.
“I was talking to my wife and family at the time and I am immensely grateful for their forgiveness and support,” Paine said. “We thought this incident was behind us and that I could focus entirely on the team, as I have done for the last three or four years.
“But I recently realized that this private text exchange would be public.”
Paine said he did not want the scandal to become “an unwelcome disruption to the team ahead of what is a huge Ashes series.”
The series is one of the most anticipated in world cricket. Following the opening test match in Brisbane, further matches are planned for Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Australia holds the ashes.
“I have loved my role as captain of the Australian cricket team,” Paine said on Friday. “I am grateful for the support of my teammates and proud of what we have been able to achieve together. To them I ask for their understanding and forgiveness. To Australian cricket fans, I am deeply saddened that my past behavior has affected our play on the threshold of the ashes. ”
Cricket Tasmania issued a statement on Friday in which the charges against Paine were only raised when the female employee was charged with theft. Chairman Andrew Gaggin said no complaint was filed until mid-2018 following the November 2017 message exchanges.
“As soon as Cricket Tasmania was made aware, it conducted a study that determined that the interaction was consensus, private, took place on a single occasion, was between mature adults and was not repeated,” Gaggin said.
Paine has played 35 Tests for Australia and taken 150 catches behind the stumps. He has scored 1,534 races with an average of 32.63 with a high score of 92 and nine half-centuries.
Pat Cummins is now favored to become the first fast bowler to take on the full-time leadership of the test team, even though Steve Smith’s name has once been mentioned with sandpaper.
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