Tim Paine quits Test captaincy after off-field scandal

With three weeks to go for the high-profile Ashes series, incumbent Tim Paine has decided to quit Test captaincy with immediate effect. Cricket Australia confirmed. Paine’s decision has come after an off-field scandal emerged, where he sent objectionable texts to a female co-worker at Cricket Tasmania in 2017.

The veteran wicket-keeper batsman, who took over the charge after the famous sandpaper gate incident, held a press conference to announce his decision.

“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,” Tim Paine read out from a statement at the presser.

“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.

“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.

“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 added. 

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein said that governing body has accepted his resignation. They will look for a replacement and vice-captain Pat Cummins is the front-runner to take up the role.

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

The Ashes series kicks off on December 4 at the Gabba.

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