Cricket Australia has conceded it made the wrong call to not disclose an investigation into Tim Paine’s inappropriate behaviour in 2018, a move which ultimately led to his resignation as Test captain on Friday.
Paine, 36, and a father of two, stepped down as Australia’s Test captain on Friday, having admitted to sending lewd messages and an inappropriate image to a female Cricket Tasmania employee in 2017. He had been investigated and cleared by the sporting body’s integrity unit.
However, CA chairman Richard Freudenstein said on Saturday the board and executive at the time had made the wrong call.
“Once again, while I cannot speak about the original decision-making in 2018, but I can say if Cricket Australia was faced with the same circumstances, with the relevant information about all of this matter, Cricket Australia would not make the same decisions today,” he said.
While he has ceded the captaincy, Paine declared he wanted to retain his spot in the side for the Ashes.
Paine’s comeback from surgery was thwarted by wet weather in Hobart on Saturday. He had been due to play his first match in eight months for club side University after neck surgery, but rain at Queenborough Oval thwarted this.
This came as former Test batsman Ed Cowan said he was surprised Paine had not retired on Friday and questioned whether he should remain in the team.
Cowan said Paine’s lack of cricket – the Australians have not played a Test since losing to India in January – and his injury issues meant his spot was under the spotlight.
“Absolutely … there is no denying, 37 years old, neck surgery, hasn’t even played a game until today (Saturday) when he is turning out for the University of Tasmania in a club cricket game, no Shield cricket in the lead up, this was going to be a tough ask from a cricket point of view for anyone, let alone the captain,” Cowan said on ABC Radio.
“My gut feel was, if he wasn’t the captain, would he have been picked in the first Test knowing the little amount of cricket or the form he has put on the board because of it? Without being the captain, I am actually surprised he didn’t retire yesterday because he is now under the pump and it’s the double whammy effect – no cricket, under pressure. What really is there to gain from a cricket point of view? I am surprised he is still playing, to be honest.”
Tim Paine leaves Queenborough Oval on Saturday.Credit:Nine News
Cowan said he was “sad” for all parties and the handling of the matter had been a “great reminder” that full transparency was needed. He said the decision to not disclose the investigation represented a “toxic” culture of CA at the time.
Former Victorian captain Darren Berry said he would select Paine for the first Test.
“I would like to say from the outset, if he is available, he is the best wicketkeeper in Australia,” Berry said on SEN Radio.
“Nobody condones what’s happened, it’s wrong, but he hasn’t killed anybody, he hasn’t robbed a bank, he’s made a horrible mistake that he’s going to have to live with, with his family and I feel for him, even though he’s made a horrible mistake.
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