Tim Paine steps down as Australia Test captain ahead of The Ashes amid ‘sexting’ scandal

Tim Paine was expected to lead Australia in the series against England that begins in Brisbane on December 8; Cricket Australia has referred to the exchange of messages as “revelations of a sexting incident involving a former Cricket Tasmania employee in 2017”.

Tim Paine has resigned as test captain for Australia less than three weeks before the Ashes start.

Tim Paine resigned as captain of the Australian test team less than three weeks before The Ashes over a text message exchange with a former colleague.

The 36-year-old was expected to lead his team in the series against England that begins in Brisbane on December 8, but made the “incredibly difficult decision” to step down.

The wicketkeeper-batsman did not discuss the nature of the messages in his resignation speech, but the Cricket Australia (CA) news website referred to him as “revelations of a sexting incident involving a former Cricket employee Tasmania in 2017 “.

CA said it accepted the resignation and would appoint a new captain, but added that the Tasmanian would be available to be selected for the next series.

Fast bowler Pat Cummins is the current vice-captain and the most likely choice to become the new team leader.

An excited Tim Paine announced that he was retiring as cricket captain during a press conference.

Speaking to reporters in Hobart, Paine said: “It is an incredibly difficult decision, but the right one for me, my family and cricket.

“As a precursor to my decision, almost four years ago I participated in an exchange of text messages with a colleague from then.

“At the time, the exchange was the subject of a thorough investigation by the CA Integrity Unit (Cricket Australia), in which I was fully and openly involved.

“That investigation and a Cricket Tasmania HR investigation at the same time determined that the Cricket Australia code of conduct had not been breached.

“Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time and continue to do so today.”

Paine was unexpectedly elevated to become the captain of Australia’s 46th Test after Steve Smith’s ban following the infamous ball-handling scandal in South Africa in 2018.

The Ashes kicks off December 8 at The Gabba in Brisbane

While the position was imposed on him, he has mostly received praise for his execution of the demanding dual roles of captain and goalkeeper, especially in Australia’s 2019 win in England, Ashes.

He added: “We thought this incident was behind us and that I could fully focus on the team as I have for the last three or four years.

“However, I recently realized that this private text exchange would go public.

“On second thought, my actions in 2017 do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain or the wider community.

“I am deeply sorry for the pain and pain that I have caused to my wife, my family and the other party.

“I am sorry for any damage this causes to the reputation of our sport and I believe it is the right decision for me to resign as captain with immediate effect.”

“I don’t want this to become an unwanted interruption for the team before what is a great Ashes series,” added Paine, who was the captain of Australia in 23 tests for 11 wins, eight losses and four draws.

“I loved my role as captain of the Australian cricket team and it has been the greatest privilege of my sporting life to lead the Australian men’s test team.”

While Cummins is apparently first in line to replace Paine, Australia has generally been extremely reluctant to have a bowling captain. The last was the Richie Benaud SUV, in the early 1960s.

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