“Knew it was going to come out, as much as I didn't want it to” - Tim Paine opens up on sexting controversy

Former Australian Test captain Tim Paine (right) with wife. Pic: Bonnie Paine
Former Australian Test captain Tim Paine (right) with wife. Pic: Bonnie Paine
Renin Wilben Albert

Former Australian Test captain Tim Paine has admitted he knew that the lewd messages he sent to a co-worker in 2017 would be out in the media sooner or later. He revealed that attempts were made previously as well for the story to be made public.

Paine stepped down as Australia’s Test captain on Friday in the wake of the controversy, just a couple of weeks ahead of the Ashes.

The 36-year-old was investigated by Cricket Australia (CA) and Cricket Tasmania in 2018 and was cleared of any misconduct. In the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, he was even elevated to the role of Australia’s Test captain.

In an interview to Herald Sun, Paine conceded he was aware that it was only a matter of time before the controversy became public. The wicketkeeper-batter explained:

"I thought the issue was dealt with, but it always popped up around a big series, or at the start of the cricket season. Over the last three years, there have been numerous times where media agencies have put to us that they had evidence, yet they never chose to write it. But I knew it was going to come out at some point, as much as I didn't want it to."
Here's Tim Paine's statement today at the press conference where he announced to step down as the captain of the Australian Men's Test team.#Australia #TestCricket

Paine maintained that the exchange between him and the colleague was consensual. He also did not think the messages were an issue as far as him taking up the Test captaincy was concerned. The cricketer opined:

"Because it was a consensual exchange of messages months beforehand, I didn't think it was anything to consider. I never thought for a moment that it would become an issue. I was just excited and honoured to be asked."

Under Paine’s captaincy, Australia retained the Ashes in 2019 after the Test series in England ended in a 2-2 draw. However, the Aussies lost consecutive Test series’ at home to India, raising question marks over his leadership.

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Paine’s place in the Test team has come under the scanner following the emergence of the lewd messages. The keeper-batter, though, believes he can still feature in the Ashes as a player. Asked if he is ready to play despite the controversy, Paine replied:

"Yep, I'm sure I can."

Admitting that winning the Ashes at home would be the perfect swansong, Paine concluded:

"I see that as the ultimate high, to be able to finish your Test career after winning an Ashes series in Australia. That's the dream. That's what I want to do."

The Ashes will begin with the first Test at The Gabba, Brisbane from December 8.

Edited by Samya Majumdar
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