Sexting Scandal: Tim Paine steps down as Australian Test skipper ahead of Ashes
Hobart, November 19: Australian Test skipper Tim Paine on Friday announced his decision to quit as captain after being investigated by Cricket Australia over sending a co-worker an explicit image of himself along with a string of lewd messages, giving a jolt to the country's Ashes preparation.
Tim Paine was appointed as the skipper of the national side during the ball tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018 which had led to the suspension of several top cricketers including former captain Steve Smith.
Unless there is a sudden change-of-heart from the Australian cricket hierarchy, vice-captain Pat Cummins looks set to become the first fast bowler to captain the Test side in 65 years, reports Cricket Australia website.
Pending approval from the Cricket Australia Board, Cummins will become the 47th player to captain Australia’s men’s Test team.
"Today, I'm announcing my decision to stand down as the captain of the Australian men's test team. It's an incredibly difficult decision, but the right one for me, my family, and cricket," an emotional Paine said as he read from a prepared statement as quoted by Cricket Australia website.
"As a background on my decision, nearly four years ago, I was involved in a text exchange with a then-colleague. At the time, the exchange was the subject of a thorough CA Integrity Unit investigation, throughout which I fully participated in and openly participated in," Paine announced.
"That investigation and a Cricket Tasmania HR investigation at the same time found that there had been no breach of the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct. Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time, and still do today," the 36-year-old said.
"I spoke to my wife and family at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support," he 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," he said.
"However, I recently became aware that this private text exchange was going to become public. On reflection, my actions in 2017 do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain, or the wider community," Paine said.
He expressed his 'deep sorry' to his family over the recent developments.
"I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and pain that I have caused to my wife, my family, and to the other party. I'm sorry for any damage that this does to the reputation of our sport," Paine said.
"And I believe that it is the right decision for me to stand down as captain, effective immediately. I do not want this to become an unwelcome disruption to the team ahead of what is a huge Ashes Series," he said.
"I have loved my role as captain of the Australian cricket team. It's been the greatest privilege of my sporting life to lead the Australian men's test team. I'm grateful for the support of my teammates and proud of what we've been able to achieve together," the skipper said.
Australia A captain Alex Carey and WA gloveman Josh Inglis, who was in Australia's World Cup winning T20I squad and was also picked in this week's Australia A side, loom as the two most likely to push for a Baggy Green, read Cricket Australia website.