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Ex-Australian cricket skipper Tim Paine insists he is ‘not blaming anyone’ over sexting scandal

Ex-Aussie cricket skipper Tim Paine insists his relationship with wife Bonnie has never been better and he ‘doesn’t blame anyone’ over the sexting scandal that ruined his career.

The married father-of-two sent a series of sexually-suggestive messages, including a picture of his genitals, to a co-worker at Cricket Tasmania, Renee Ferguson, in 2017, but the ‘sexts’ resurfaced in November 2021, effectively forcing Paine into a tearful resignation conference that month. 

The 37-year-old released his autobiography ‘The Price Paid’ earlier this week, in which he makes some explosive allegations about the sexting scandal and now-infamous Sandpapergate in particular.

Tim Paine, pictured with wife Bonnie, released a book that had stunning revelations about his opinion of the treatment he faced from Cricket Australia in the wake of a sexting scandal

Paine was asked why he wouldn’t just ‘let things lie’ by prominent journalist David Koch, as the Aussie cricket team look to claim back-to-back T20 World Cups – but he remained defiant, as always.  

The ex-skipper claimed the book had been in place for ‘a couple of years’ that he’d hoped to release in his last summer as skipper, but his forced resignation meant he had to add a few chapters ahead of this month’s release date. 

The 35-Test cricketer has continued to slam Cricket Australia over the saga that led to him being effectively sacked, and is scathing of the way the situation was dealt with. 

Tim Paine was captain of Australia from March 2018 to November 2021 - ending after his resignation was effectively forced by Cricket Australia in the wake of a sexting scandal from four years prior from  becoming public knowledge

Tim Paine was captain of Australia from March 2018 to November 2021 – ending after his resignation was effectively forced by Cricket Australia in the wake of a sexting scandal from four years prior from  becoming public knowledge

Paine's Cricket Tasmania co-worker Renee Ferguson was the other party in the allegedly consensual sexting scandal

Paine’s Cricket Tasmania co-worker Renee Ferguson was the other party in the allegedly consensual sexting scandal

‘We had known about this (sexting) for three to four years, and were working with Cricket Australia on how we would handle this (sexting affair), when and if it came out; and there was a thorough integrity case which cleared me,’ he said in an interview with Channel 7’s Sunrise hosts, Koch and Natalie Barr.

‘The way it was handled, it does not sit well with me, but at the same time I take full responsibility of what I have done, and I put myself in the situation.

‘Unfortunately it was flipped on its head, last-minute, 12 months ago when it became public, which was disappointing … but now it’s about moving on, getting on with my life.

‘I said all along, I did the wrong thing, absolutely by my family and wife, but it was a consensual thing between two adults,’ said Paine.

That ‘consensual thing’, involved the married Paine sending Ferguson pictures of his genitals, and allegedly writing sexually-explicit texts such as: ‘Will you want to taste my d**?? F**k me, I’m seriously h***.’ 

The 37-year-old has been married to wife Bonnie since 2016, and the pair have two children: son Charlie and daughter Milla. 

Tim Paine and wife Bonnie have been married since 2016 and have two children: Milla and Charlie

Tim Paine and wife Bonnie have been married since 2016 and have two children: Milla and Charlie

The husband and wife enjoy a quiet moment after a Test at the MCG with Milla and Charlie

The husband and wife enjoy a quiet moment after a Test at the MCG with Milla and Charlie

Paine plays with son Charlie in the MCG dressing rooms after a match

Paine plays with son Charlie in the MCG dressing rooms after a match

Paine said the relationship is now better than ever despite the sexting scandal, though admitted it had been ‘difficult’ to deal with it in such a ‘public forum’. 

People you love going through something difficult because of something stupid (sexting saga) you did four years ago, is something I have to live with,’ he said. 

We (Paine and wife Bonnie) have had some help, and become really open and honest, and if anything, the relationship has been better because of it.

‘It was a horrible time to be involved in for them, and it’s sad that it had happened,’ admitted Paine. 

Tim Paine says his relationship with wife Bonnie is better than ever. The pair are pictured holding hands on a walk the night after they attended current skipper Pat Cummins' wedding in Byron Bay in July

Tim Paine says his relationship with wife Bonnie is better than ever. The pair are pictured holding hands on a walk the night after they attended current skipper Pat Cummins’ wedding in Byron Bay in July

In his book, Paine wrote he was ‘stunned’ when he was told resigning was the best course of action, despite the scandal – and was adamant he would not step down until it became obvious he would be sacked otherwise. 

‘I was prepared to cop the flak for what I did, but in my mind Cricket Australia had abandoned me and made it look like they thought I’d sexually harassed someone,’ he wrote. 

Paine drafted a resignation letter the next morning, something he claims he wrote only because he felt he ‘had a gun to his head’.

‘The reality was they were happy to defend me and accept I hadn’t breached their code of conduct as long as it was kept private,’ he wrote.

The day after the resignation announcement, Cricket Australia chair Richard Freudenstein told media the current board would not have endorsed him as captain following the original investigation in 2018.

Tim Paine announced his resignation as Australian captain during a teary press conference on November 19, 2021, in which he apologised for the pain he had caused

Tim Paine announced his resignation as Australian captain during a teary press conference on November 19, 2021, in which he apologised for the pain he had caused

That further infuriated Paine, who maintained he would have still been captain. That’s despite being on an extended run of poor batting and wicketkeeping form at both state and national level, and with several talented glovemen seemingly far more suited.

Koch called him out on that stance, asking him whether he thought a married father who sent pictures of his genitals and text ‘too explicit to read on breakfast television’ should still be captain of the Australian cricket team after such a scandal.

For a role long colloquially referred to as the second-most important job in Australia outside of the Prime Minister, now doubt many cricket fans would agree with what Koch was alluding to.

That is that no, a person in such a prestigious and privileged position, who is a role model to millions of young Aussie kids, should not engage in an explicit, extra-marital ‘albeit consensual’ affair over text with a co-worker.

Tim Paine and wife Bonnie enjoying a rare moment to get dressed up at the Allan Border Medal

Tim Paine and wife Bonnie enjoying a rare moment to get dressed up at the Allan Border Medal

Paine preferred to explain why it was the WAY he was effectively sacked that was disappointing, instead of referring to the decision himself.

He wrote in his book he felt ‘hung out to dry’ by Cricket Australia and CEO Nick Hockley in the wake of the messages emerging publicly, and revealed the effective decision to sack him came from a PR firm. 

‘We did a phone link which included this person they’d hired from a public relations firm who’d apparently given advice to the board in the past,’ he wrote, referring to the conference that occurred one day before the sexting scandal became public. 

‘The consultant then said that the best way to get ahead of the story was if I stood down as captain.’

Paine did slightly backtrack on his scathing criticism of Hockley, insisting on the broadcast he thought ‘Hockley was a good man who has a tough job’, before then saying he would have ‘handled the situation differently’. 

Paine slammed the treatment he faced from Cricket Australia and CEO Nick Hockley (pictured) when details of sexually-suggestive texts between he and a co-worker became public in November, 2021

Paine slammed the treatment he faced from Cricket Australia and CEO Nick Hockley (pictured) when details of sexually-suggestive texts between he and a co-worker became public in November, 2021

It was a point not lost on Barr, who accused Paine of ‘seeming to blame the PR person – who has subsequently been revealed by the Daily Telegraph to be former newspaper editor and political advisor Clive Mathieson.

‘No, I’m not blaming anyone,’ a defiant Paine replied. 

‘In the book, I’m telling my story and how I saw it. I have taken full responsibility for what I did. I just found it strange that the PR consultant was brought in to talk to me about resigning the captaincy, (and was) someone who I never spoke to or didn’t know. 

‘(So) I found that a little bit strange, but I have taken responsibly for what I have done … and look forward to move on,’ said Paine. 

No doubt moving on has been made harder by Paine dredging up the scandal yet again through his book and the subsequent marketing campaign, but the former skipper said some good has come out of another scandal that engulfed the Aussie cricket team just before he was made captain in 2018. 

The infamous Sandpapergate, in which then-opener Cameron Bancroft scratched the surface of the cricket ball with sandpaper in a test against South Africa, shocked Australian cricket.

Particularly with the knowledge it was instigated by senior player David Warner and then-captain Steve Smith knew about it. 

Paine has returned to the field after an extended break, and is now playing for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield

Paine has returned to the field after an extended break, and is now playing for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield

Paine revealed levels of ball-tampering were ‘commonplace’ in world cricket at the time, but the times have now, happily, changed.

‘The positive that’s come out of that, in international cricket, that syllabus is in the past, the behaviour around that international cricket is tidied up,’ he said.

After a long break from cricket, Paine is now back on the field and representing Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield. The side’s next match is against NSW this Saturday. 

Daily Mail Australia has reached out to Cricket Australia for comment. 

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