Tim Paine has resigned as Australia’s Test captain ahead of the Ashes series due to an ongoing inquiry into sexually explicit emails sent to a female colleague.
Paine, 36, said in a sad statement that he sent texts to a coworker at Cricket Tasmania in 2017 that led to a misconduct probe after she made charges against him in 2018.
He said he had been “exonerated,” but that he was stepping down because his messages were about to be made public.
The Ashes begin on December 8th.
Cricket Australia (CA) has accepted Paine’s resignation and will name a new captain, although the wicketkeeper-batsman will continue to play against England.
The current vice-captain, fast bowler Pat Cummins, is largely anticipated to take over as captain.
Following Steve Smith’s suspension for a ball-tampering controversy, Paine was named captain in 2018.
At a news conference on Friday, Paine announced the historical probe, calling his choice to stand down “an extraordinarily tough decision but the correct one for me, my family, and cricket.”
He stated, ” “Despite being exonerated, I felt terrible about the incident at the time, and I still feel bad about it now.
“At the time, I spoke with my wife and family, and I am grateful for their forgiveness and support.
“In retrospect, my conduct in 2017 did not reach the standard of an Australian cricket captain or the greater society.”
The substance of the messages was not disclosed by Paine, but it was described as a “sexting incident involving a former Cricket Tasmania staffer in 2017” on CA’s press page.
The event occurred in November 2017, according to Cricket Tasmania. On November 23, 2017, in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, Paine made his first Test debut for Australia in seven years.
“At the time, the exchange was the subject of a comprehensive CA Integrity Unit investigation, which I completely and honestly cooperated in.” Paine said.
“Both that inquiry and a Cricket Tasmania HR investigation concluded that no infringement of the Cricket Australia code of conduct had occurred.”
Although Paine was absolved of any wrongdoing, CA chairman Richard Freudenstein stated that the organization “does not condone this sort of language or behavior.”
Paine, who took over from the banned Smith in March 2018, said Australia needed to alter its “behavior” and pledged to instill a “new culture” in the country.
The ball-tampering controversy prompted an investigation into Australian cricket, which was published in October 2018 and criticised a “winning at all costs” attitude, while also blaming CA.
Cricket Tasmania said that its former employee did not come forward with her charges against Paine until she was charged with theft in mid-2018.
Paine’s “interaction” with the lady was “consensual, private, occurred on the one occasion alone, was between mature adults, and was not repeated,” according to Andrew Gaggin, the chairman of Cricket Tasmania.
He went on to say that Cricket Tasmania “obviously does not condone this sort of behavior,” but that because the texts were “consensual,” “no further action was necessary or warranted.”
He went on to say that criminal accusations against the former employee were still ongoing and that he couldn’t say anything further.
Paine, who has nine 50s in 35 Tests, underwent neck surgery in September but has already stated that he expects to be healthy for the Ashes.
CA suspended Smith for a year in 2018 for his role in the ball-tampering affair, which occurred during the third Test against South Africa in March of that year, and for attempting to cover up Cameron Bancroft’s use of sandpaper on the ball.
At the time, the batter was also barred from captaining Australia for at least two years.
Paine indicated in March 2020 that if Smith were to return to captaincy, he would “totally support” him.
However, India defeated Australia at home in both 2018-19 and earlier this year, with the latter series resulting in Australia’s first Test defeat at the Gabba in Brisbane since 1988.
Paine also expressed regret for his actions during the drawn third Test against India in Sydney in January, when he slapped Ravichandran Ashwin and was penalised 15% of his match fee for dissent and cursing at umpire Paul Wilson.
In total, Paine led Australia to victory in 23 Tests, winning 11, losing eight, and drawing four.
Brisbane hosts the 2021-22 Ashes series, which will be followed by matches in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth.