Cricket Australia has admitted that Tim Paine should have resigned as Australia’s test captain when he was first investigated for a texting scandal three years ago.
Paine stepped off the Test captain in tears on Friday afternoon – Less than three weeks after Ashes’ first clash against England – after admitting inappropriate texts to a colleague at Cricket Tasmania in 2017.
Paine was investigated by both state and national sports authorities in 2018 and acquitted for violating the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct at the time. After Paine returned to testing in late 2017, Paine was then named test captain in the aftermath of the Australian cricket sandpaper scandal during the unfortunate South Africa tour in 2018.
However, the CA’s current chairman Richard Freudenstein said Saturday that it was a mistake by previous administrators to remain Paine as captain, given the initial integrity check.
“I can’t talk about the 2018 decision, I wasn’t there,” Freudenstein told reporters. “But I say based on the facts as they are, the board of Cricket Australia would not have made that decision today. I acknowledge that the decision clearly sent the wrong message that this behavior is acceptable and without serious consequences. The role of the Australian cricket captain must meet the highest standards. “
Freudenstein said he considered the case closed when he joined CA’s board of directors in 2019 to explain why Paine’s behavior was not addressed earlier.
Paine’s retirement has favored a rapid spearhead and vice-captain Pat Cummins to take on the highest cloak in Australian cricket. One problem with Cummins is the workload that would make him juggle skippering duties and the rigors of his high-octane bowling, both through the five ash tests that series opened in Brisbane in just over six weeks from December 8th.
Former Captain Steve Smith is emerging as either an alternate option or a stand-in who has served a no-man-tour role in the 2018 ball-rigging episode that led to Paine’s rise. The 36-year-old wicketkeeper had been widely dumped for retirement after the ashes. With this in mind, Freudenstein said the process of finding Australia’s next captain was already underway and was now being accelerated.
He refused to speculate on possible candidates, save for confirmation of Smith, 32, stayed among them and confirmed candidates would be screened to avoid repeating the saga around Paine’s resignation.
“You can be sure of that [as] As part of this process we will try to make sure that these problems do not exist, ”Freudenstein replied when asked about the possibility of background checks.
“We started a process to find the next Australian captain to take place over the summer in the expectation that Tim would one day retire. We are obviously speeding up this process. It will be a very thorough but short process that examines all the relevant criteria for being a captain on the Australian cricket team. We come to a conclusion [on] that with a lot of time before the ashes.
“There are a number of candidates who are available for this position. Steve Smith is one of the candidates available for the role. “
Paine, meanwhile, has insisted that he remain available as a player, although concerns about his fitness and worth without the captain have led to suggestions that Australian A-keeper Alex Carey will replace the Tasmanian veteran.
Paine’s attempt to return from neck surgery on Saturday by club cricket with the university – which would have been his first competitive stroke in eight months – was thwarted by rain without a ball being thrown. Australian selector George Bailey met with Paine at the Queenborough Oval in Hobart before the game was canceled as both he and the deposed Australian captain declined to comment from the media.
Freudenstein said CA is “comfortable” with Paine continuing to play as a player until he is in shape and fitness, but insisted that leadership positions should be valued higher.
“The captain of the Australian cricket team has to be kept at a very high level,” said Freudenstein. “So I think it’s perfectly appropriate for Tim to leave the captaincy, which is in the best interests of Australian cricket. The Australian Cricket Board is pleased with his availability as a player. “