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Ahead of Ashes, Australia's Tim Paine resigns as Test captain over sexting scandal

Australia's Test captain Tim Paine resigns after being investigated by Cricket Australia for sending a female co-worker a string of lewd text messages in November 2017.

Ahead of Ashes Australia Tim Paine resigns as Test captain over sexting scandal
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Australia, First Published Nov 19, 2021, 9:40 AM IST
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Ahead of the Ashes slated to begin from December 8, 2021, Australia's Test captain Tim Paine resigned on Friday (November 19) after being investigated by Cricket Australia over sending a co-worker an explicit photograph of himself along with a string of lewd text messages back in November 2017.

Addressing a press conference in Hobart, Tim Paine said that his decision to step down as Australia's Test skipper was a tough decision, but the right one for himself, his family and the game of cricket. He added that his actions in 2017 do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain or the wider community. Paine, however, said that he is still looking forward to the much-anticipated Ashes tour, indicating his willingness to continue as the team's wicketkeeper pending selection.

Providing details of the investigation in his press conference, Paine added that he was involved in a text exchange with a former colleague nearly four years ago, which was the subject of a thorough CA Integrity Unit investigation. The 36-year-old conceded that a 'private text message' was exchanged between him and a former colleague and added that he provided full support to the investigation back then. Paine stated that the investigation at that time found that there had been no breach of the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct.

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Expressing regret over the incident, Paine added he spoke to his wife and family at the time and is grateful for their support and forgiveness.

Paine revealed that he recently got to know that the private text exchange with his former colleague was going to become public, adding that he thought the incident was behind him and he could focus on the team like he has done in the past three to four years. Reflecting upon his actions in 2017, Paine added that it does not meet the standard of an Australian cricket skipper or the community at large.

A tearful Paine expressed that he did not want to become an unwelcome disruption to the team ahead of the Ashes series and apologised for the hurt and pain he caused to his wife, family, and former colleague. He also apologised for any damage that has caused or could be caused to the reputation of the sport.

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Cricket Australia accepts Paine's resignation; Pat Cummins likely to replace him

Cricket Australia Chair Richard Freudenstein confirmed that the Board had accepted Paine's resignation and will now work through a process to identify and appoint the new skipper. Freudenstein added, "Despite the mistake he made, Tim has been an exceptional leader since his appointment and the Board thanks him for his distinguished service. Tim will continue to be available for selection in the Test team through the Ashes summer."

According to reports, vice-captain Pat Cummins is likely to take over from Tim Paine, which would make him the first fast bowler to captain Australia's Test side in 65 years. If Cricket Australia approves this, Cummins will become the 47th man to lead the country's Test team.

Cricket Tasmania says the November 2017 incident was private and consensual

Following Paine's decision to step down from the Test captaincy role, Cricket Tasmania issued a statement clarifying that no formal complaint was raised when the incident took place in November 2017, nor when the employee's position with the organisation was terminated. Andrew Gaggin, chair of Cricket Tasmania, said an investigation took place following the incident. It was determined that the interaction was consensual, private, occurred on the one occasion only, was between mature adults and was not repeated. However, both Cricket Tasmania and Cricket Australia did not condone Paine's behaviour.

Tim Paine took over the Test captaincy role from Steve Smith, who was banned from leadership roles for two years for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australian cricket in 2018.

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