You’ve almost definitely heard it already, but in case you’ve been living under a rock or need a reminder, here’s the news again:
Cricketer Tim Paine has resigned from his position as Australia’s Test captain just 19 days before the start of the Ashes series against England.
The 36 year old wicketkeeper-batter publicly apologised and resigned from his post as captain whilst looking remorseful and emotional in front of the cameras.
Paine stepped down after hearing of the news that explicit messages that he exchanged with a former female colleague at Cricket Tasmania back in 2017 were about to be made public.
The shock resignation ahead of the Ashes has raised multiple questions. Top of the list is the question of why the issue wasn’t brought public sooner, and how guilty are Cricket Tasmania and the Australian Cricket Association of a cover-up.
On the sporting front, Australia needs to move quickly to get a new captain in place before the Ashes start in December.
The incident that lead to Paine’s resignation earlier this week happened back in November 2017. The 36 year old allegedly exchanged a number of messages with a Cricket Tasmania employee, including a sexually explicit image of himself.
Cricket Australia have known about the incident since they appointed Paine captain in 2018. However, an internal investigation acquitted him of any wrongdoing, finding that no breach of their code of conduct had taken place. Cricket Tasmania and the Australian Cricketer’s Association were also aware of the messages, but both described the exchange as being ‘consensual’.
However, the Cricket Tasmania employee on the receiving end of Paine’s message, who is as yet unidentified, reportedly described the sexually explicit image she received from Paine as being “unwelcome and unsolicited” when corresponding with the three aforementioned cricket authorities back in June 2018.
This has led many to believe that Cricket Australia has actively swept this incident under the carpet, all the while promoting Paine’s family-friendly image despite their knowledge of the incident.
Paine has also come under fire for waiting until the messages became public knowledge before choosing to step down and apologising.
Paine has stepped down as Australia’s Test captain, however, nothing has been said publicly about whether or not he will play for Australia during the Ashes.
Many reports have suggested that the reaction and aftermath of this scandal will most likely result in Paine not featuring for Australia at all against England.
As for his replacement, 28 year old fast bowler Pat Cummins is emerging as the strong favourite. Cummins has been described as a “born leader”, and will be the first fast bowler to captain Australia’s Test cricket team in 65 years should he be given the honor.
In slightly more positive news, Covid-19 restrictions are set to be scrapped in the state of Victoria, meaning that the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne will take place in front of a 100,000 strong capacity crowd at the MCG.
The Ashes series will start on December 8 in at the Gabba in Brisbane, where the current restrictions will allow for 75% capacity. However, it’s unlikely that England fans will be able to travel to Australia to watch the Ashes, as strict travel restrictions still remain in place.
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