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Tim Paine stands down as Test captain, Cummins to lead Australia

Tim Paine. Photo: Cricket Australia

Hobart (Australia), Nov 19 (MNN) 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 (local time) after details of an off-field scandal emerged.

Pending approval from the Cricket Australia Board, vice-captain Pat Cummins will become the 47th man to captain Australia’s Test team – the first fast bowler to do so in 65 years.

Paine 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.

At a press conference at Blundstone Arena where Paine read out a prepared statement but did not take questions, the 36-year-old conceded a private text exchange between him and a former colleague, 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 decided he would step down from the captaincy.

“It’s an incredibly difficult decision, but the right one for me, my family, and cricket,” said Paine,

“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.”

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 have loved my role as captain of the Australian cricket team. It’s been the greatest privilege of my sporting life to lead the Australian men’s Test team,” he continued. “I’m grateful for the support of my teammates and proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together.

“To them, I ask for their understanding and forgiveness. For the disappointment I have caused to fans and the entire cricket community, I apologise.

“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

Tour Matches

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

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