Tim Paine retires as Australian Test Captain before Ashes series amid a sex scandal

Tim Paine retired as the Australian men’s Test Captain after revealing that he was involved in a sex scandal.

Paine said he was involved in a text exchange with a female former Cricket Tasmania (CT) employee in late 2017.

He addressed the media in Hobart on Friday afternoon to make the announcement, reading a brief statement but refusing to answer questions.

Paine said the text exchange had been previously investigated by Cricket Australia (CA) and he was “excused”.

The 36-year-old became aware recently that the text exchange would go public and chose to retire, but he would remain a member of Australia’s men’s Test squad.

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

“At the time, the exchange was the subject of an in-depth CA Integrity Unit survey, during which I was fully involved and openly involved.

“That survey and Cricket Tasmania HR survey simultaneously found that there was no breach of the Cricket Australian Code of Conduct.

Emotional Paine faced the media in Hobart on Friday afternoon. (ABC News: Luke Bowden)

“I deeply regretted this event at the time, and still do today. I spoke with my wife and family at the time and am extremely grateful for their forgiveness and support.

“We thought this event was behind us and that I could concentrate entirely on the team, as I have done for the last three or four years.

“However, I have recently become aware that this private text exchange will become public.”

“Deeply regrets pain and sorrow”

Paine – who assumed the Test captaincy in 2018 after the sandpaper scandal in South Africa – said he understood he had left his family and the Australian cricket community.

“Considering, my actions in 2017 do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain, or the wider community,” he said.

“I regret any damage this does to the reputation of our sport and I believe it is the right decision for me to retire as captain, actually right away.

“I don’t want this to become an unwelcome interruption for the team ahead of what is a huge Ashes series.”

The Ashes begin on December 8 with the first Test at Gabba of Brisbane.

Wearing a green blazer, whites and a pink bag cap, Tim Paine traverses the SCG race past member seats.
Paine took over the Test captaincy after the sandpaper scandal in South Africa in 2018.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Paine said it would hurt him not to be the captain anymore.

“It was the greatest privilege of my sporting life to lead the Australian men’s Test Team,” he said.

“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’m] very sorry that my past behavior influenced our game in front of the Ashes.

“For the disappointment I have caused to fans and the entire cricket community, I apologize.

“I was blessed with a wonderful, loving and supportive family, and it breaks my heart to know how much I let them down.

“They always supported me, were my most loyal fans, and I owe them their support.”

Background to allegations

Cricket Tasmania said the allegations raised against Paine by a former employee of the organization were brought to attention only when formal allegations of theft were filed against that employee in mid-2018.

President Andrew Gaggin said no complaint was raised during the event in November 2017, nor when the employee’s position with the organization was terminated.

“As soon as Cricket Tasmania was aware, it conducted an investigation that determined that the interaction was consensual, private, took place only once, was between mature adults and did not recur,” he said in a statement.

“Cricket Tasmania obviously does not tolerate this type of behavior and has dealt with the matter directly with Tim Paine.

Mr Gaggin said criminal charges against the former employee are still pending and the matter is still before the courts.

Cricket Australia reacts

CA released a statement on Friday afternoon saying it had accepted Paine’s resignation and “will now speed up 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 make this decision to retire as captain,” said CA president Richard Freudenstein.

“The Board has accepted Tim’s resignation and will now work through a process with the National Election Panel to identify and appoint a new captain.

“CA does not tolerate this type of language or behavior.

“Despite the mistake he has made, Tim has been an exceptional leader since his appointment and the Board thanks him for his outstanding service.”

CA confirmed that Paine would be available for selection in the men’s Test squad for the Ashes series.

Tim Paine walks with his helmet under his arm and wearing gloves in his hand
Cricket Australia has said it has accepted Paine’s decision to retire.(Action Pictures by Reuters: Lee Smith)

Paine played 35 Tests for Australia after making his debut against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2010.

After appearing in four Tests that year, he did not return to Australia’s Test squad until the 2017/18 Ashes when he helped the hosts to a 4-0 series win.

He was appointed captain during Australia’s tour in South Africa in early 2018 when Steve Smith was forced to retire from the position due to his role in the infamous ball abuse event.

Paine has led Australia in the Test arena since then, with the preservation of the Ashes in England in 2019 among the highlights of his captaincy.


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