Tim Paine steps down from Australia Test captaincy. What is next?

Image Credits : Sky Sports

Tim Paine resigned as Australia’s Test captain on Friday, citing a “private text interaction” with a female colleague in a shocking revelation only weeks before the Ashes series against arch-rivals England begins.

“Today, I’m announcing my decision to stand down as the captain of the Australian men’s Test team,” said an emotional Paine, failing to hold back tears as he recounted a years-old scandal which is only now coming to light.

“Nearly four years ago, I was involved in a text exchange with a then-colleague,” Paine, 36, said, referring to what Australian media reported to be a series of sexually graphic exchanges with a female co-worker.

“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,” he said.

“I sincerely regret the damage and pain I’ve caused my wife, my family, and the other party. I apologise for any harm this has caused to our sport’s reputation.”

While Paine acknowledged that he would be relinquishing the “biggest privilege” of his life, he asserted that he would still participate in the following series against England.

“I will remain a dedicated member of the Australian cricket team and eagerly await what promises to be a historic Ashes tour,” he stated.

In the aftermath of the Sandpaper-gate ball tampering scandal that shook Australian cricket, the Tasmanian batsman-wicketkeeper took over the Test captaincy in 2018.

Former captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were forced to resign after using sandpaper to modify the ball during a Test in Cape Town.

Cricket Tasmania stated that the “interaction was voluntary, private, and between mature adults.”

Cricket Australia’s chair, Richard Freudenstein, stated that the subject had been investigated at the time and that no wrongdoing had occurred.

Regardless, selectors appointed Paine as captain of the scandal-plagued team a few months later.

“We accept Tim’s choice,” Freudenstein stated, “although the board acknowledges that an investigation absolved Tim of any infraction of the code of conduct surrounding this matter several years ago.”

“This type of language or behaviour is not tolerated by Cricket Australia.” Tim has been an extraordinary leader since his appointment, notwithstanding the mistake he made, and the Board appreciates his remarkable service.”

Pat Cummins, who has been vice-captain for the previous two years and would be the logical alternative for Paine, is the apparent front-runner for the job.

The 28-year-old is the captain of the bowling attack and has recently become the face of Australian cricket.

Cummins spoke about the possibility of taking over as captain earlier this week, entirely unaware that he was soon to be in line for the job.

“I suppose so – I’ve been in the position for a few years now…If it’s necessary, I’ll be ready,” he replied.

Cummins, on the other hand, would be way ahead of the other possibilities at this point, considering his recent role as VC and all-around good bloke standing among the public and his teammates.

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