Dressing room fury leaves Cricket Australia fighting wildfire

Publish Date
Wednesday, 24 November 2021, 9:30AM
Getty Images

Getty Images

Cricket Australia is reportedly fighting a fire on multiple fronts as it continues to reel following the shock resignation of former test captain Tim Paine.

The wicketkeeper quit his role as captain of the Australian Test cricket team on Friday, brought down by a series of lewd texts he'd sent to a former Cricket Tasmania employee.

The governing body was blindsided on Tuesday when Cricket Tasmania chairman Andrew Gaggin vented his fury over Cricket Australia's treatment of Paine.

He described CA's treatment of Paine as "appalling".

The public slight has reportedly left CA officials fuming as the rift with Cricket Tasmania continues to expand.

The Daily Telegraph first reported CA is seething at the rebuke, which reportedly came following a conversation between Gaggin and CA chairman Richard Freudenstein where the Tasmanian boss shared his anger.

Gaggin is reported to have conveyed that CA left Paine with no option but to fall on his sword and hung him out to dry — an accusation also made by former CA chairman David Peever this week.

It emerged Tuesday night the Australian team dressing room is also unhappy at how Paine has been treated.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported old wounds between the playing group and top officials are opening again as a result of the Paine situation.

The report details the relationship remains fractured following the fiery, protracted pay dispute which left players considering strike action before a Collective Bargaining Agreement was finally reached.

A number of recent clashes reportedly continue to irk some sections of the Aussie dressing room, including recent crisis talks surrounding the future of coach Justin Langer.

Freudenstein's public comments on Friday have now opened the old wounds, according to the report.

Freudenstein said when asked if he would have stood Paine down at the time the sexting scandal first became known, he said: "I can't talk about the 2018 decision, I wasn't there. I am saying based on the facts as they are today the board of Cricket Australia would not have made that decision.

"I acknowledge the decision clearly sent the wrong message that this behaviour is acceptable and without serious consequences.

"The role of Australian cricket captain must be held to the highest standards."

The series of texts exchanged between Paine and the former Cricket Tasmania employee were investigated by the Cricket Australia Integrity Unit and Cricket Tasmania's HR department at the time, however Paine was found not to have breached the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct.

Gaggin on Tuesday ripped CA to shreds.

"In conversations I have had in recent days it is clear that the anger among the Tasmanian cricket community and general public is palpable," Gaggin said.

"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.

"Yet, at a time when CA should have supported Tim, he was evidently regarded as dispensable.

"The treatment afforded to the Australian Test captain by Cricket Australia has been appalling, and the worst since Bill Lawry over 50 years ago.

"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."

Bill Lawry was infamously axed from the Australian Test team midway through a series despite being the skipper and learned of his removal from the squad once it was made public knowledge.

Paine was coming into the Ashes under a major injury cloud having undergone surgery for a bulging disc in his neck.

The 36-year-old finally got some much-needed match practice for Tasmania's second XI in Hobart as he took to the wicket for his first competitive outing since April 6.

Paine took six catches for his team at Lindisfarne Oval but was removed for just one run after being trapped LBW.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

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