It was meant to be the finest moment of his career, but former Australian captain Tim Paine will not be in Hobart this week for the city’s historic first Ashes Test match.
Instead of leading Australia at Bellerive Oval, a match he pushed for, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that the 37-year-old is on holidays with his family, and won’t return to Hobart for the match.
Paine hasn’t been spoken publicly since resigning the Test captaincy on the eve of the series, after a sexting scandal dating back to 2017 became public.
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According to the Herald, Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania invited Paine to an official function at the match, while SEN was also keen to have the former skipper as part of their commentary team.
“We’ve been talking regularly, a couple times a week. He’s going okay, is how I’d describe Tim,” ACA boss Todd Greenberg told SEN.
“He’s incredibly disappointed he’s not playing cricket, and I’m disappointed he’s not playing cricket too. But we’re keeping in close contact, and we’ll help him through it.
“We made it very clear to Cricket Australia we thought there was a different way that could have been handled, but we’re not always going to agree. The players felt it could have been handled differently, and they felt like the governing body didn’t have their back at that particular time.
“We’re creating trust between the players and the governing body, and that’s a big part of that. We took some steps backwards in that scenario, that’s just being brutally honest.”
Even before the sexting scandal came to light, the fifth Ashes Test was looming as Paine’s final match before retirement. His replacement, Alex Carey, endured a difficult Test in Sydney, dropping two chances to his right.
Former Test wicketkeeper, Wayne Phillips, says there’s no need to panic over Carey’s form.
“His best is absolutely good enough, it’s just those little errors that we’ve seen that have been exposed,” Phillips said on Radio 5AA.
“It’s a tiny little technical issue that needs to be addressed. It’s not difficult at all, just a little half step to get in position. When you’ve got two going in between him and first slip something needs to be done but … I know Alex and he’ll work on it as hard as any man has.”
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