Tim Paine QUITS as Australia Test cricket captain weeks before Ashes over explicit sexting scandal following Smith axe

TIM PAINE has QUIT as Australia Test cricket captain over an explicit sexting scandal in the latest debacle surrounding the team.

The decision comes just weeks before he was due to lead his country against England in the Ashes Down Under.

Tim Paine has resigned as captain of the Australian Test cricket team over a sexting scandal

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Tim Paine has resigned as captain of the Australian Test cricket team over a sexting scandalCredit: EPA
He took on the role from Steve Smith in 2018 following the ball-tampering shame

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He took on the role from Steve Smith in 2018 following the ball-tampering shameCredit: AFP

Paine took over from shamed Steve Smith in 2018 when the former skipper was caught up in the ball-tampering controversy.

But now he has resigned amid backlash over his conduct towards a then-colleague at Cricket Tasmania in 2017.

Paine, now 36, sent an unsolicited picture of his penis to the woman along with a string of graphic messages.

She was said to have been taken aback and offended by the content she received unwillingly.

The exchange was initially investigated in 2018 when Cricket Australia became aware of the messages – after he was named captain – but he was not found to have breached the code of conduct.

In a press conference confirming his departure, Paine said: “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.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

Cricket Australia Chair Richard Freudenstein confirmed the board has accepted the resignation and that wicket-keeper Paine would be available for selection in the upcoming series.

Vice-captain Pat Cummings is expected to be named as Paine’s successor and the new Australia Test cricket captain, pending approval from the Cricket Australia Board.

More to follow…

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