Australian Test cricket captain Tim Paine has stepped down following a shock sexting scandal wherein he sent a lewd photo to a female staffer. The 36-year-old was being investigated for four years by Cricket Australia for sending the explicit messages and photos to the female co-worker.
Paine announced his decision to step down as Australia's test captain at a press conference in Hobart on Friday afternoon, a report on cricket.com.au, said. However, he will be available for selection for the upcoming Ashes next month.
The married father-of-two young children, Paine was being investigated by Cricket Australia since 2018 after the woman complained. The matter was kept secret and Paine continued to play for his country. However, he has been proved guilty now and decided to quit on Friday after just weeks ahead of the all-important Ashes.
Paine announced his shock resignation as Australian Test cricket captain over what he described as an inappropriate "private text exchange" with the former colleague. Paine was appointed the 46th Australian Test captain in March 2018.
"Today, I'm announced 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," Paine said in a statement.
The messages date back to 2017, months before Paine was recalled to the Test team after a seven-year absence. At that time, a joint Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania investigation committee cleared him of the allegations.
However, Paine's resignation as the Test cricket captain now support the allegations made four years ago. "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."
"That investigation and a Cricket Tasmania HR investigation at the same time found that there had been no breach of the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct. Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time, and still do today."
Paine may be remorseful about what he had done four years back but one thing is for sure that he decided to resign only after he learnt that the indecent messages and photos he had sent to the then-college were going to be made public. In fact, he himself said that while resigning.
"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," he said.
"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.
Paine allegedly had sent a photo of his penis to the female co-worker along with a stream of lewd text messages, many of which are too raunchy to publish.
"Will you want to taste my d**?? F**k me, I'm seriously hard," one of the messages sent to the Cricket Tasmania employee read.
The allegations were further investigated after Cricket Australia separately launched an investigation in June 2018.
The woman at the time had complained that "Mr Paine's sexually explicit, unwelcome and unsolicited photograph of his genitals in addition to the graphic sexual comments." She said that she taken aback by the comments and pornographic photo, which she found offensive.
However, the investigation also found that the woman, who interacted with Paine on and off for about a year, and then leaked messages, were flirtatious by both parties.
However, Paine will remain available for selection although he is still recovering from an injury. Vice-captain and pace bowler Pat Cummins looks set to become the first paceman to captain the Australian Test side in 65 years.