30 November 2021 19:32

Tim Paine steps down as Australia’s Test captain, after a sexting scandal

"As background on my decision, nearly four years ago, I was involved in a text exchange with a then-colleague."

Australia Test skipper Tim Paine has stepped down as the captain of the side ahead of the much-awaited Ashes opener after allegations emerged of improper conduct in 2017.

At a press conference at Blundstone Arena on Friday where Paine read out a prepared statement, the 36-year-old conceded a private text exchange between him and a former colleague, now made public, was unbecoming of his role.

While he did not breach Cricket Australia’s code of conduct, a fact confirmed by a CA media release on Friday, Paine decided he would step down from the captaincy.

“It’s an incredibly difficult decision, but the right one for me, my family, and cricket,”

said Paine.
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“As 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.

“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. I spoke to my wife and family at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support.

“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.

“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.

“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.

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“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.”

England and Australia will lock horns in the five-match Ashes, beginning December 8 at the Gabba, Brisbane. Cricket Australia on Friday informed about Paine’s decision to leave captaincy “immediately”.

Cricket Australia in a statement said the Board has accepted Paine’s resignation and will now accelerate the process of identifying and appointing a new Test captain.

“Tim felt it was in the best interests of his family and Australian cricket to take this decision to step down as captain,”

CA Chair Richard Freudenstein said in a statement.

“The Board has accepted Tim’s resignation and will now work through a process with the National Selection Panel of identifying and appointing a new captain.

“While the Board acknowledges an investigation cleared Tim of any breach of the code of conduct regarding this matter some years ago, we respect his decision.

“CA does not condone this type of language or behavior,” the statement concluded.

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