Ex-Australia test captain Paine back in first-class cricket

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Former Australia captain Tim Paine is back playing first-class cricket for the first time since he resigned as test skipper in April 2021 after a scandal involving explicit text messages.

His first innings back was short lived.

Paine was included in the Tasmanian XI on Thursday to play Queensland in a four-day Sheffield Shield match at the Gabba. Tasmania lost the toss and was set in to bat first. The top order failed on a dark, overcast day and Paine, batting at No. 6, joined them back in the pavilion after scoring just six runs off 19 balls.

The 37-year-old Paine took a long break from the game but has been training with the Tasmania squad and made a successful return in Hobart grade cricket last weekend.

He took an indefinite mental health break in the lead-up to the 2021 Ashes series against England when the sexting with a co-worker in 2017 became public.

Cricket Australia, which selected fast bowler Pat Cummins as Paine’s replacement as test captain, said last November that Paine advised them he would be “stepping away from cricket for a period of time.”

“We recognize that this is an incredibly difficult time for Tim and his family and are committed to supporting them,” Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said in a statement at the time. “We respect and understand Tim’s decision to have a break at this time to focus on his and his family’s wellbeing.”


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