Former Australian cricket captain Tim Paine will holiday interstate with his family rather than watch the final Ashes test in Tasmania, fearing being so close to the action without being allowed to compete would be damaging for his health.
The historic occasion will see Blundstone Arena in Hobart host a contest between Australia and England for the first time – but Paine won’t be at the ground.
The 37-year-old, who is a fiercely proud Tasmanian resident, previously spoke about his excitement about leading Australia in a test from the Apple Isle – only to see the match versus Afghanistan postponed last November after the Taliban’s takeover.
The fifth Ashes test loomed as Paine’s professional swansong in the baggy green – but the wicketkeeper instead sensationally stood down from the sport to focus on his mental health in November last year after it was revealed he sent a former Cricket Tasmania employee a series of lewd messages in 2017.
To aid his well-being, Paine felt it was a better choice not to be in Tasmania for the day-night test, which was moved from Perth a few weeks ago due to Western Australia’s strict border protocols.
Former Australian cricket captain Tim Paine will holiday interstate with his family rather than watch the final Ashes test in Tasmania – which starts on Friday, fearing it would damage his mental health (pictured with his wife Bonnie)
Paine, 37, (pictured at the Ashes in 2019) stood down as Australian captain last November after a sexting scandal from 2017 was made public
‘He’s going OK is how I’d describe Tim,’ Australian Cricketers Association boss Todd Greenberg said on SEN radio recently.
‘He’s terribly disappointed he’s not playing cricket and I’m disappointed he is not playing cricket too, but we are keeping in close contact and we’ll help him through it.
‘We made it very clear to Cricket Australia we thought there was a different way that could have been handled, but we’re not always going to agree. The players felt it could have been handled differently, and they felt like the governing body didn’t have their back at that particular time.
‘We’re creating trust between the players and the governing body, and that’s a big part of that. We took some steps backwards in that scenario, that’s just being brutally honest.’
Cricket Tasmania chairman Andrew Gaggin said Paine will be missed in Hobart.
‘It’s a bit bittersweet with Tim,’ Gaggin said on Tuesday. ‘It’s a shame that he can’t be here.’
Paine became the new face and leader of Australian cricket following the infamous ball-tampering saga of 2018 in South Africa as coach Justin Langer attempted to revive the team’s flagging world reputation.
His leadership skills were impressive, only to step aside after the lewd messages and explicit photos became public news on November 19 last year.
Earlier this month, Paine and his wife Bonnie appeared to be moving on from his sexting scandal, having spent the past six weeks on holiday in Hobart.
Bonnie shared a gallery of photos to Instagram of the couple with friends and family at their waterfront pad in Opossum Bay, a 40-minute drive from their family home.
The mother of two said in the caption she was ‘so blessed’, writing: ‘A glimpse into the past six weeks with our beautiful friends and family.’
She added: ‘There’s something special about disconnecting from the world and being present in the moment. I’m so blessed.’
While most of the photos showed Bonnie with her pals, one group photo included her husband smiling while holding their son Charlie, two.
It was the first time Bonnie has shared a photo of her Tim on her main Instagram grid since mid-November.
Other photos showed Charlie carrying a cricket bat while staring out to sea, and of the little boy fast asleep on the sofa wearing batting pads.
One image saw Bonnie riding a horse, while another showed the couple’s daughter Milla, four, drawing a picture.
A test match featuring Australia and England in Hobart for the first time would have been the perfect way to Paine (pictured with his wife) to retire in his home town – but he chose to step aside from the sport in late 2020 after a highly publicised sexting scandal
Bonnie Paine (pictured, with son Charlie) previously stated she has ‘moved on’ from the sexting scandal from 2017 involving her husband, former Test cricket captain Tim Paine
Paine was investigated by Cricket Australia in 2018 after the female staffer employed by Cricket Tasmania complained, but was cleared of misconduct and the matter was kept secret.
Paine sent a photo of his penis to the female co-worker along with a stream of lewd text messages, many of which are too raunchy to publish.
‘Will you want to taste my d**k?? F**k me, I’m seriously hard,’ one of the messages read.
Paine later held a press conference at which he tearfully apologised and announced he would step down.
‘It’s an incredibly difficult decision, but the right one for me, my family, and cricket,’ he told reporters.
In 2018, Tim and Bonnie Paine decided to put the sexting incident behind them – and later declared their marriage was stronger than ever
Bonnie stood by her husband after privately being told of the sexting investigation in 2018, and insisted they’d moved past it.
Her Instagram bio still proudly says she’s ‘Wifey to Tim’.
Bonnie said the scandal had actually been ‘good for their marriage’ in the long run, even though she was ‘completely rocked’ by his betrayal.
She also admitted she felt bad for him after he was forced to stand down as Australia’s test cricket captain.
In an interview in November, Bonnie said she’d already ‘had her time’ of ‘getting angry, venting and getting upset’ but decided in 2018 to put the incident behind them – and that by doing so, their marriage was stronger than ever.
‘I have a bit of sympathy for Tim at the moment. A lot actually. He and I went through all of this privately in 2018. It was horrific then and is really hard now,’ she told The Daily Telegraph.
The timing of the matter left Bonnie feeling frustrated more than anything at the ‘injustice’ of having their private struggles dragged out all over again.
‘We put it to bed years ago… I remember feeling angry because we had a little girl who wasn’t too old… Tim and I had been in a long relationship, it’d been 10 years and God knows we had our ups and downs… but I was still completely rocked,’ she said.
Addressing Paine, she added: ‘You telling me was a huge progression for us. You kept everything so secretive prior to that. Weirdly, this mess has actually helped our relationship.’
Paine later announced he was taking an indefinite break from the sport.
On November 26, his manager tweeted: ‘Confirming that Tim is stepping away from cricket for an indefinite mental health break.
‘We are extremely concerned for his and Bonnie’s well-being and will be making no further comment at this time.’
Tim Paine’s rise and dramatic fall in sexting scandal
Australian captain Tim Paine walks to change ends during a cricket test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground, in Sydney, Australia on Jan. 9, 2021
2010: Tim Paine makes his Test debut against Pakistan, replacing injured Brad Haddin, but is dumped upon the incumbent’s return
April 2016: Paine marries Bonnie Maggs
November 17, 2017: Granted shock recall for Ashes series
November 22-23, 2017: Paine sends lewd messages to a female coworker on the eve and morning of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. The pair had exchanged texts throughout the year
January 2018: Selected for squad to tour South Africa
March 25, 2018: Appointed interim captain after Steve Smith and David Warner stood down over ‘sandpapergate’ ball tampering scandal
March 28, 2018: Paine is appointed captain for the 4th Test of the series, becoming the 46th captain of the Australian side
April 2018: Awarded a national contract by Cricket Australia
June 2018: Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania become aware of the messages and launch an investigation, following a complaint from the woman. Paine claims he was exonerated during the investigation. His wife Bonnie was aware of the messages but chose to stick by him
2018 – 2021: Paine continues as Test captain, retaining the Ashes in England in 2019
November 19, 2021: Paine steps down as full details of the explicit messages surface