Cricket Australia admits it made a mistake in its handling of Paine investigation

By Sports Desk November 20, 2021

Cricket Australia (CA) has admitted it made a mistake in its handling of 2018 investigation into the Tim Paine sexting scandal which led to his resignation from the Test captaincy.

Paine stood down the Australian Test captaincy on Friday having been embroiled in a lewd text message scandal from 2017, which was investigated by CA and Cricket Tasmania in 2018.

At the time, Paine was found not to have breached CA's Code of Conduct and remained in the role as Test captain, having taken up the position earlier that year following Steve Smith's demotion in light of the sandpaper scandal.

CA chair Richard Freudenstein and CEO Nick Hockley addressed the media on Saturday and stressed they were not in their current positions at the time of the investigation, thus were not across the rationale behind the decisions made but said with hindsight they were a mistake.

"Neither of us, Nick Hockley or myself, can speak directly to the decision-making process in 2018," Freudenstein said.

"This includes being able to provide any further insights around how the original judgement was made, that Tim’s behaviour did not breach the code of conduct and that it did not warrant any further disciplinary action.

"Once again, while I cannot speak about the original decision-making in 2018, what I can say is that faced with the same circumstances, and with the benefit of all relevant information about this matter, Cricket Australia would not make the same decisions today.

"I acknowledge that the decision clearly sent the wrong message to the sport, to the community and to Tim – that this kind of behaviour is acceptable and without serious consequences.

"The role of Australia Captain must be held to the highest standards."

At the time of the investigation, David Peever was CA chair and James Sutherland was the organisation's CEO.

Freudenstein added: "A decision was made in 2018 and that decision was final. The details weren't known to anyone who've been on the board since that stage."

Paine follows Smith in being forced to step down from the captaincy in controversial circumstances and Hockley added that highest standards would be expected of the next skipper, expected to be Pat Cummins.

"Going forward I think it's incumbent on everybody to have the highest standards to represent Australia and particularly in a leadership position," Hockley said.

Paine was on Saturday due to play his first game of competitive cricket since neck surgery in September for University of Tasmania against South Hobart-Sandy Bay in Tasmanian club cricket but the day's play was called off due to rain.

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