Tim Paine steps down as Australia's Test captain: Details here
In a major development, Tim Paine has stepped down as Australia's Test captain with immediate effect. He resigned after Cricket Australia (CA) investigated him for sending explicit messages to a female co-worker at Cricket Tasmania in 2017. The cricket board now eyes a new Test captain less than a month before the impending Ashes series. Here are further details.
Why does this story matter?
Australia are set to begin their Ashes title-defense on December 8 at the Gabba. Paine's resignation at this hour comes as a huge blow to Australian cricket. Although Australia will miss his leadership, Paine clarified that he is available for selection as a player. The Aussies have already returned home after winning the 2021 T20 World Cup under white-ball captain Aaron Finch.
Paine announced his decision at a press conference
"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," Paine said in a press conference at Hobart. "I have loved my role as captain of the Australian cricket team. It's been the greatest privilege of my life to lead Australia."
What is the matter?
In an off-field scandal that has emerged, Paine had sent explicit texts to a female co-worker at Cricket Tasmania in 2017. The incident came to light months before Paine was appointed as Australia's Test captain. A joint-investigation by Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania had cleared him at that time. However, the "private text exchange" recently became public, according to Paine.
Cricket Tasmania carried out a subsequent investigation
Although CA had cleared Paine, Cricket Tasmania found out about the allegations only when the employee was accused of theft in 2018. "As soon as Cricket Tasmania was made aware, it undertook an investigation that determined the interaction was consensual, private, occurred on the one occasion only, was between mature adults and was not repeated," CT chairman Andrew Gaggin said.
Paine apologizes for his actions
"I recently became aware that this private text exchange was going to become public. My actions do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain," Paine added. "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."
Paine had replaced Steven Smith as Australia's Test captain
An inexperienced Paine was handed the charge of Australia's Test side after Steven Smith resigned in the wake of ball-tampering scandal in March 2018. Under the former, Australia went on to retain the Ashes in England in 2019. Paine led Australia to 11 wins in 23 Tests during his stint. In his leadership, Australia lost eight matches, while four were drawn.
Pat Cummins could lead Australia in the Ashes
The vice-captain of Australian Test team, Pat Cummins, is the front-runner to lead the side in the Ashes. Australia will feature in the longest format after nearly a year. They last played the Brisbane Test against India in January earlier this year. The five Ashes Tests, starting December 8, will be played in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth respectively.