Tim Paine steps down as Australia captain over "sexting" scandal
Paine will participate in the first Ashes Test next month, despite stepping down
Australia Test captain Tim Paine has stepped down from his position over a historical investigation into texts he sent to a female colleague.
The 36-year-old fought back tears as he said he had sent messages to a co-worker at Cricket Tasmania in 2017 which had led to a misconduct investigation.
Although he said he was "exonerated", he has decided to step down after learning the text messages were set to be revealed to the public.
🗣 "I've been blessed with a wonderful, loving & supportive family - it breaks my heart to know how much I have let them down"
Tim Paine has stepped down as captain of the Australia Test team less than three weeks before The Ashes over a sexting exchange with a former colleague.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 19, 2021
Paine's decision has been accepted by Cricket Australia, who will now appoint a new captain ahead of the Ashes series with England, which starts on December 8.
Fast bowler Pat Cummins, who is currently vice-captain of the side, is expected to be promoted to captain. Cricket Australia have also confirmed that Paine will remain as part of the side, despite resigning from the captaincy.
"Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time and still do today," Paine said at a press conference on Friday.
"I spoke to my wife and family at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support.
"On reflection, my actions in 2017 do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain, or the wider community."
He later added: "At the time, the exchange was the subject of a thorough Cricket Australia Integrity Unit investigation, throughout which I fully participated in and openly participated in.
"That investigation and a Cricket Tasmania HR investigation at the same time found that there had been no breach of the Cricket Australia code of conduct."
Paine, who inherited the captaincy from Steve Smith following the infamous ball tampering scandal three years ago, did not discuss the nature of the texts, which have been described by Cricket Australia's news website as "sexting".