SYDNEY: Australia’s Tim Paine will quit all forms of cricket for the “foreseeable future”, his manager said on Friday, after a scandal led him to resign as Test captain.
His decision put an abrupt end to debate in Australia over whether he should take part in the Ashes, with the first Test against England opening in Brisbane on December 8.
Paine was due to play for Tasmania in a domestic one-day match in Hobart on Friday in the lead-up to the first Ashes test in Brisbane on December 8, but will be unavailable for the “foreseeable future”, the state’s cricket association said.
“Following discussions over the last 24 hours, Tim Paine has advised Cricket Tasmania that he will be taking a leave of absence from all forms of cricket for the foreseeable future,” it said in a statement.
The Tasmanian keeper quit as Test captain a week ago over the public revelation of an exchange of allegedly sexually graphic text messages with a female colleague in 2017.
While stepping down as skipper, Paine said at the time he wanted to remain a “committed member” of the Australian Test side and was looking forward to the Ashes tour. There had been a groundswell of support to keep him in the team for the opening clash in Brisbane. Australia’s opener Marcus Harris said on Wednesday that Paine had the full support of the Australian team and deserved to keep his place for the first Test.
Paine was cleared after a 2018 probe by CT and national board Cricket Australia (CA) but stepped down last Friday, saying he did not want his captaincy to be a distraction during the Ashes. He said he would remain available for selection, though selectors chairman George Bailey confirmed Paine was no lock for the Ashes while coming back from neck surgery.
Bailey also said he would recuse himself from the decision to select Paine, a close friend and business partner, if there was contention on the selection panel. Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley said Paine had advised the board of his decision to step away from the game.
“We recognise that this is an incredibly difficult time for Tim and his family and are committed to supporting them,” Hockley said in a statement. “We respect and understand Tim’s decision to have a break at this time to focus on his and his family’s well-being.”
Paine took over as captain in March 2018 in the wake of the “Sandpaper-gate” scandal that rocked Australian cricket. Then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were forced to step down for their roles in trying to alter the condition of the ball during a Cape Town Test against South Africa.