Vodafone Men's Ashes
Paine quits as Test captain amid off-field scandal
A tearful Tim Paine resigned from the Australian Test captaincy today, just 19 days out from the beginning of the Ashes, after allegations emerged of improper conduct in 2017
19 November 2021, 03:02 PM AEST
Tim Paine has stood down as Test captain in a bombshell announcement that has thrown Australia's Ashes defence into chaos less than three weeks out from the series opener.
Paine announced his resignation at a tearful press conference in Hobart on Friday afternoon after details, first reported by News Corp, of an off-field scandal emerged.
Pending approval from the Cricket Australia Board, vice-captain Pat Cummins will become the 47th captain of the Australian Men's Test team, and the first fast bowler to do so in 65 years.
An emotional Paine apologised to fans but stated that he is still "looking forward to a huge Ashes tour", indicating that he intends to continue in his role as the team's wicketkeeper, pending selection.
The 36-year-old read out a prepared statement to reporters Blundstone Arena and did not take questions.
He conceded a private text exchange between him and a former colleague in 2017, now made public, was unbecoming of his role.
While he did not breach Cricket Australia's code of conduct, a fact confirmed by a CA media release on Friday, Paine said it was an "incredibly difficult decision" to stand down as captain.
"As a background on my decision, nearly four years ago, I was involved in a text exchange with a then-colleague," he said. "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."
Without the captaincy, Paine now must show he remains the country's No.1 Test keeper.
The Tasmanian has not played any first-class cricket since April and recently underwent surgery to fix a neck concern.
Josh Inglis, the back-up gloveman in the Aussies' World Cup-winning squad, and Alex Carey, who captained the ODI side earlier this year, were picked in an Australia A squad to participate in the Test side's Ashes preparations
Both have impressed in the Marsh Sheffield Shield over recent campaigns, as has Queensland keeper Jimmy Peirson.
CA Chair Richard Freudenstein said the Board had accepted Paine's resignation.
"The Board has accepted Tim's resignation and will now work through a process with the National Selection Panel of identifying and appointing a new 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.
"Despite the mistake he made, Tim has been an exceptional leader since his appointment and the Board thanks him for his distinguished service.
"Tim will continue to be available for selection in the Test team through the Ashes summer."
Paine also apologised to Australian cricket fans for how "my past behaviour has impacted our game on the eve of the Ashes".
"I've been blessed with a wonderful, loving and supportive family, and it breaks my heart to know how much I've let them down. They have always stood by me, been my most loyal fans, and I'm indebted to them for their support.
"I will remain a committed member of the Australian cricket team and look forward with anticipation to what is a huge Ashes tour."
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
Nov 23-25: England v England Lions, Brisbane
Nov 30 – Dec 3: England v England Lions, Brisbane
Dec 1-3: Australian intra-squad match, Brisbane
Dec 9-12: Australia A v England Lions, Brisbane
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium