SYDNEY (Reuters) – Cricket Tasmania chairman Andrew Gaggin condemned Cricket Australia’s “appalling” treatment of Tim Paine on Tuesday, saying he should never have been put in a position where he felt he had to resign as Australia test captain.
Paine stood down from the role last Friday after sexually explicit text messages he sent to a female former colleague at Cricket Tasmania in 2017 were leaked to the media.
The 36-year-old wicketkeeper, who has represented Tasmania since the 2005/6 season, had been exonerated by a Cricket Australia integrity review into the matter soon after becoming test skipper in 2018.
“In conversations I have had in recent days it is clear that the anger amongst the Tasmania cricket community and general public is palpable,” Gaggin said in a statement on Tuesday.
“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.
“The treatment afforded to the Australian test captain by Cricket Australia has been appalling, and the worst since Bill Lawry over 50 years ago.”
Lawry was notoriously sacked as Australia captain and dropped from the team ahead of the final test of the 1970-71 Ashes series, only discovering his fate when informed by reporters.
Cricket Tasmania said after Paine’s resignation that the female former employee complained to them about the messages only after she had been charged with stealing from the organisation.
Cricket Australia chair Richard Freudenstein said on Saturday that the current leadership team would have sacked Paine had they been in charge in 2018.
“At a time when CA should have supported Tim, he was evidently regarded as dispensable,” Gaggin continued.
“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.”
Fast bowler Pat Cummins is favourite to replace Paine as test captain ahead of the Ashes series, which starts in Brisbane on Dec. 8.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)