Tim Paine has stepped down from the position of Australia‘s Test captain with less than three weeks to go for the first Ashes Test against England in Brisbane. The wicket-keeper announced his resignation at a press conference in Hobart on Friday, following revelations of a ‘sexting’ incident involving a former Cricket Tasmania employee in 2017.
Pat Cummins, who was named the vice-captain for the Ashes, is set to take the captaincy duties for the high-profile series. He would become the first fast bowler to captain Australia’s Test side in 65 years.
“Today, I’m announce 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 Tim Paine said in the press-conference.
My actions in 2017 do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain: Tim Paine
Tim Paine, who was given the Test leadership following the banning of Steve Smith due to the ‘Sandpapergate’ event, admitted about the texts and decided to quit captaincy upon learning that the texts could be made public.
“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.
“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,” the 36-year-old elaborated.
Tim Paine apologised to his teammates as well for putting his side in the wrong attention this close to the home Ashes.
“To them, I ask for their understanding and forgiveness. To Australian cricket fans I’m deeply sorry that my past behaviour has impacted our game on the eve of the Ashes. For the disappointment I have caused to fans and the entire cricket community, I apologise,” the wicket-keeper addded.
Uncapped wicketkeepers Alex Carey and Josh Inglis are in contention to take the gloves should Tim Paine does not play at the Gabba for the first Test against England on December 8.