"As long as it’s COVID safe, I’ll be giving him a hug" - Marcus Harris backs Tim Paine to play the Ashes

Tim Paine (Image Credits: Getty)
Tim Paine (Image Credits: Getty)

Australian opener Marcus Harris has said that the team was in shock after Tim Paine's sexting scandal emerged. But despite Paine's resignation as captain and his place in the team under question, Harris backs him to play the Ashes.

Paine quit as Test captain in an emotional press conference, expressing regret over sending explicit texts to a colleague in 2017. The 36-year-old's resignation came a few weeks before the Ashes; however, he intends to play the marquee series.

🇦🇺🏏 Who will the next @CricketAus Test captain be?The Cricket Australia Board say Tim Paine "will continue to be available for selection in the Test team through the Ashes summer.”💻 Follow it live. 👉📰 Full sport coverage:

Marcus Harris said that the team found about Tim Paine's resignation quite late, and were shocked. Nevertheless, citing the Tasmanian as a great leader amid criticism and backing him to bounce back, Harris said, as quoted by The Age:

"We found out half an hour before you guys (media), so there wasn’t much time to properly digest it. But yeah, it was a shock, but Tim’s obviously been a great leader around the group. He’s always been really good to me and my family."
"Our hearts went out for Tim and Bonnie and the kids and his family. And then yeah, obviously CA are going to have to work out who leads now but - I think knowing Painey, knowing his character - he’s a pretty strong and resilient bloke. So if anyone can get through it, I’m backing Painey to be able to get through that. As long as it’s COVID safe, I’ll be giving him a hug."

Paine's tenure as captain has received widespread condemnation following Australia's consecutive series losses at home under him.

🗣 "I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and pain that I have caused to my wife, my family, and to the other party."Tim Paine's full statement announcing his resignation as Australia men's Test captain.

The veteran could retire from the game if Australia retain the urn at home.

"Painey (Tim Paine) is a very popular member of the group" - Marcus Harris

Marcus Harris. (Image Credits: Getty)
Marcus Harris. (Image Credits: Getty)

Marcus Harris threw his support behind Paine, and is looking forward to seeing him play. The 29-year-old says Paine got the job under challenging circumstances, and remains one of the best glovemen in Australia. Harris said in this regard:

"Painey is a very popular member of the group, and he was the skipper as well. We’re looking forward to him getting up here in the next week or so and getting on with cricket. He’s done a really good job in the last few years, under tough circumstances."
"And I think you’d probably have to argue that he’s still the best gloveman in the country. And he still played really important innings last summer against India, so I know he’s got the support of all the players."

Harris, who has featured in all ten Tests under Paine, has got the nod to open with David Warner in the upcoming Ashes. The left-hander would be keen to improve his record in the format, having scored only two fifties.

Edited by Bhargav
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