A teammate of Tim Paine was blindsided by the news his former Australian Test cricket captain was stepping aside from the role.
Paine, 36, confirmed he would no longer lead the team ahead of the Ashes in a press conference in Friday after a sexting scandal from 2017 was made public.
Paine’s Australian teammate Travis Head, named in the 15-man squad for the first Test against England starting in Brisbane on December 8, was in the middle of a press conference in Adelaide when informed of the bombshell development.
Head remains confident the playing group will keep a steely collective focus, and said confidence was high after many players were key figures when Australia recently won the T20 World Cup in Dubai.
‘It’s a tough one at the moment to go into any of that… because I don’t know the ins and outs, I haven’t spoken to Tim or the boys, I guess over the next 24-48 hours we’ll know more about it,’ Head told reporters.
Batsman Travis Head was blindsided by the news Tim Paine was stepping down as Test captain of Australia – but still believes the playing group can regroup and win the Ashes
Paine (pictured with wife Bonnie) said his decision to stand down as skipper was ‘incredibly difficult’ – but was the ‘right one for me, my family and cricket’
Batsman Travis Head is confident Australia will regroup and focus on beating England in the Ashes starting next month in Brisbane
Tim Paine’s wife Bonnie (pictured) is understood to have previously learned of the texts to the colleague but chose to stand by her husband
‘I think the group’s in a great space, this group’s played a lot of series together, everyone gets along really well.
‘I think Australian cricket as a whole with the guys we’ve got in, we’ve got good people and we are fully behind everyone.’
News of Paine relinquishing his role as Test skipper stunned media commentators and cricket fans alike.
Plenty were critical of the fact Cricket Australia investigated the sordid texts at the time and found no wrongdoing from Paine.
Veteran broadcaster Gerard Whateley labelled Paine’s conduct a ‘disgrace.’
‘There will be a national sense of shock and trying to take it in and comprehend it, and then to forecast what happens next, it’s extraordinarily difficult to take in so instantly and rapidly,’ he said on SEN radio.
‘The nature of (what has happened) is stunning, it runs completely counter to the manner in which Tim has always conducted himself in the public sphere, he has been a tremendously dignified and respectful captain.
‘That’s two Australian captains in succession who have had to leave office in disgrace, one for what happened on the field (Steve Smith with the ball tampering affair in 2018) and one for what’s happened off-field.
‘That’s diabolical for the position that is the Australian captaincy.’
An emotional Paine said his decision to stand down was ‘incredibly difficult’ – but was the ‘right one for me, my family and cricket’.
‘Nearly four years ago, I was involved in a text exchange with a then-colleague,’ Paine said.
‘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.
The middle-order batsman was told by journalists that Tim Paine was stepping aside as Test skipper when conducting his own press conference in Adelaide on Friday
Paine was brought it as the white knight of Australian cricket after captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were suspended, along with opener Cameron Bancroft in 2018 after the ball tampering scandal in South Africa
Tim Paine has issued a public and emotional apology to his wife of five years for the ‘hurt and pain’ he caused her when he sent lewd messages to a female colleague
Respected media identity Ray Gatt tweeted that Paine’s position in the Australian team was ‘untenable’ and the wicketkeeper was ‘joking if he thinks he should still be part of the Ashes squad’
Another cricket fan called out Cricket Australia who investigated the sordid texts at the time and found no wrongdoing from Paine
Another cricket supporter suggested the Australian Test captaincy is a magnet for controversy after Steve Smith also stepped aside in 2018 following the ball tampering saga in South Africa
‘Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time, and still do today. I spoke to my wife and family at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support.’
Paine, a father of three, went onto add he was recently made aware his lewd conduct was about to made public and that his actions were unacceptable in his coveted role as the Test captain of Australia.
‘I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and pain that I have caused to my wife, my family, and to the other party,’ he said.
‘I’m sorry for any damage that this does to the reputation of our sport. I do not want this to become an unwelcome disruption to the team ahead of what is a huge Ashes series.
‘I have loved my role as captain of the Australian cricket team. It’s been the greatest privilege of my sporting life to lead the Australian men’s test team. I’m grateful for the support of my teammates and proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together.’
Paine also asked for ‘understanding and forgiveness’ from his teammates before also apologising to cricket fans across the nation.
Fast bowler Pat Cummins is looming as Paine’s likely replacement.
Tim Paine’s rise and dramatic fall in sexting scandal
Australian captain Tim Paine walks to change ends during a cricket test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground, in Sydney, Australia on Jan. 9, 2021
2010: Tim Paine makes his Test debut against Pakistan, replacing injured Brad Haddin, but is dumped upon the incumbent’s return
April 2016: Paine marries Bonnie Maggs
November 17, 2017: Granted shock recall for Ashes series
November 22-23, 2017: Paine sends lewd messages to a female coworker on the eve and morning of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. The pair had exchanged texts throughout the year
January 2018: Selected for squad to tour South Africa
March 25, 2018: Appointed interim captain after Steve Smith and David Warner stood down over ‘sandpapergate’ ball tampering scandal
March 28, 2018: Paine is appointed captain for the 4th Test of the series, becoming the 46th captain of the Australian side
April 2018: Awarded a national contract by Cricket Australia
June 2018: Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania become aware of the messages and launch an investigation, following a complaint from the woman. Paine claims he was exonerated during the investigation. His wife Bonnie was aware of the messages but chose to stick by him
2018 – 2021: Paine continues as Test captain, retaining the Ashes in England in 2019
November 19, 2021: Paine steps down as full details of the explicit messages surface