Tim Paine sexting scandal ignites player rift with CA, news, next captain

Cricket Australia’s handling of the most recent scandal to engulf the men’s national team has once again drawn the ire of its own players, according to reports.

The Age reports unrest has returned to the Australian dressing room just days out from the first Ashes Test after Tim Paine resigned as captain on Friday.

Players reportedly feel that Paine hasn’t been appropriately supported by CA after a 2017 sexting exchange with a co-worker, which included an unsolicited explicit photograph and lewd messages, was made public last week.

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Players are far from the only ones upset with CA which has been openly criticised from several parties, including the players’ union, former chair David Peever, and Cricket Tasmania.

Cricket Tasmania on Tuesday released a fiery statement that said CA’s treatment of Paine has been “appalling” and the “worst since Bill Lawry over 50 years ago”.

The Age understands that similar sentiment is being privately shared among players, whose fractured relationship with CA extends well beyond Paine’s resignation.

A bitter, protracted pay dispute in 2017 had players and the CA board at loggerheads before 2018’s Cape Town ball-tampering scandal left Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft isolated.

Despite The Longstaff Report finding that systemic issues within CA were in part to blame, the governing body refused to reduce their suspensions while all administrators remained unscathed.

More recently, select players were said to be unsettled by coach Justin Langer’s intense management style but reportedly didn’t have an audience with CA until months after a rift was first reported.

Now players are off-side once again, angered further on the weekend after interim chair Richard Freudenstein said the current CA board would have sacked Paine as captain in 2018 if it was in charge.


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The then-board chose not to after an investigation by CA found Paine didn’t breach its code of conduct in sexting the former Cricket Tasmania staffer.

Freudenstein told reporters on the weekend: “I can’t talk about the 2018 decision, I wasn’t there.

“But I am saying based on the facts as they are today the board of Cricket Australia would not have made that decision.

“I acknowledge the decision clearly sent the wrong message that this behaviour is acceptable and without serious consequences.

“The role of Australian cricket captain must be held to the highest standards.”

Those comments have drawn CA further apart from the playing group, where there is a growing feeling of isolation, according to the report.

Paine is still in line to play the first Ashes Test for Australia but CA is still searching for a new captain.

Paine reveals Langer talk in interview | 00:47

CA’s decision to accept Paine’s resignation — and claim it would have sacked him sooner — was deemed by Cricket Tasmania as an over-reaction.

“In conversations I have had in recent days it is clear that the anger among the Tasmanian cricket community and general public is palpable,” CT chairman Andrew Gaggin said in a statement.

“Tim Paine has been a beacon for Australian cricket over the past four years and instrumental in salvaging the reputation of the national team after the calamity of Cape Town.

“Yet, at a time when CA should have supported Tim, he was evidently regarded as dispensable. The treatment afforded to the Australian Test captain by Cricket Australia has been appalling, and the worst since Bill Lawry over 50 years ago.

“The Cricket Tasmania Board reaffirmed its view that Paine should not have been put in a position where he felt the need to resign over an incident that was determined by an independent inquiry at the time to not be a breach of the code of conduct and was a consensual and private exchange that occurred between two mature adults and was not repeated.”

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