Australian batsman Marcus Harris has backed Tim Paine to remain as Test wicketkeeper despite his resignation as captain over a ‘sexting’ scandal.
Paine resigned as Test skipper last week after the emergence of text messages sent to a female Cricket Tasmania employee four years ago. But Paine has still said that he wants to play in the Ashes series.
“Painey will still be around and can still show leadership in many different ways but we’re looking forward to getting into camp and getting on with it,” said Harris, who will open in the first Test on December 8 alongside David Warner.
“I think you’d probably still argue that he’s still the best gloveman in the country and he still played a few important innings last summer against India.
“I know he’s got all the support of the players and like I said, all that other stuff is up to people above me.”
Harris admitted that Paine’s resignation had disrupted the Australian squad.
“People were obviously a bit shocked but we’ve got a lot of good leaders around our group,” Harris said. “So it’s not ideal but someone’s going to have to step up and lead from the front.”
Pat Cummins is set to succeed Paine as Test match captain. The new vice-captain – a crucial question given the risk of Cummins being injured for a Test – is less clear.
Meanwhile, England have confirmed that Troy Cooley will work as a consultant pace bowling coach in the build-up to the first Test at the Gabba, as first revealed by Telegraph Sport.
Cooley, who is Australian, worked with England during the 2005 Ashes, when his tactical expertise and knowledge of reverse swing was hailed as crucial in England’s victory.
“It’s great to have someone with Troy’s expertise and experience supporting our Ashes prep and also working closely with our Lions pace bowlers,” said England performance director Mo Bobat. “Troy’s understanding of what it takes to be successful in Australian conditions is second to none, and the players are sure to benefit hugely.”
Tasmania chairman labels Paine’s treatment ‘worst of an Aussie Test captain in 50 years’
By Telegraph Sport and Reuters News Agency
Cricket Tasmania chairman Andrew Gaggin has condemned Cricket Australia’s “appalling” treatment of Tim Paine, saying he should never have been put in a position where he felt he had to resign as Australia’s 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 2005/06 season, had been exonerated by a Cricket Australia integrity review into the matter soon after becoming Test captain 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 had 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 December 8.