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Tim Paine sexting scandal: Cricket Australia are back in the gutter AND covering up again

Australia’s Ashes preparations have been thrown into chaos after captain Tim Paine quit with immediate effect in the wake of a vile sexting scandal. 

The Paine debacle is just the latest controversy to rock Cricket Australia, and it comes three years after the governing body vowed to clean up its act in the wake of Sandpapergate.

Incredibly, Paine’s lewd text messages – many of which are too raunchy to publish – also occurred in 2018 and were covered up by Cricket Australia despite their promise to change just three months earlier. 

Paine held a press conference at 2.30pm on Friday where 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 said. Paine is available for selection for The Ashes series, but his place in the team hangs by a thread.

The entire Ashes series, which begins on December 8, is set to begin under a cloud, with English cricket also in turmoil amid a racism scandal at Yorkshire. 

Azeem Rafiq rocked the world of sport with allegations of racism in cricket at a damning parliamentary session on Tuesday, which led to MPs warning the England and Wales Cricket Board to get its house in order over ‘institutional racism’ in cricket.

Australia’s Test cricket captain Tim Paine, a father-of-two who has been married to his wife Bonnie (pictured together) for five years, has quit as captain amid a shock sexting scandal

Paine's wife Bonnie was aware of the messages at the time but chose to stick by him

Paine’s wife Bonnie was aware of the messages at the time but chose to stick by him

Paine announced his resignation in a statement on Friday and held a teary press conference

Paine announced his resignation in a statement on Friday and held a teary press conference

Paine, 36, sent a photo of his penis to a female co-worker along with a stream of lewd text messages back in 2017

Paine, 36, sent a photo of his penis to a female co-worker along with a stream of lewd text messages back in 2017

In shocking testimony, Rafiq broke down in tears as he made racial discrimination claims against Tim Bresnan, Matthew Hoggard, Alex Hales, Gary Ballance and David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd. The spin bowler turned racism whistleblower also claimed the word P*** was ‘used constantly’ during his time at Yorkshire CCC as he gave explosive testimony to MPs.

In one shocking claim, he gave a harrowing account of having red wine forced down his throat by older players at his local team when he was 15 and a devout Muslim – before he drank more heavily from 2012 ‘to try to fit in’.

Rafiq has since been forced to confront his own past shortcomings after The Times uncovered a Facebook exchange in 2011 with former Warwickshire and Leicestershire player Ateeq Javid, in which he used anti-Semitic slurs. 

Cricket Australia, meanwhile, were made aware of Paine’s sexting scandal just three months after he was appointed captain in the wake of Sandpapergate in 2018.

He was chosen to leads his country in all forms of the game after previous captain Steve Smith, as well as David Warner, was banned for 12 months from international and domestic cricket, while Cameron Bancroft was hit with a nine-month suspension.  

Married father-of-two Paine was then investigated 12 weeks later by the governing body after the woman complained but, incredibly, he was cleared of misconduct and the matter was kept a secret.

Paine, 36, sent a photo of his penis to a female co-worker along with a stream of lewd text messages.  

‘Will you want to taste my d**?? F**k me, I’m seriously hard,’ one of the messages sent to the Cricket Tasmania employee read. 

The lewd messages were sent on November 22 and 23, 2017, the eve and morning of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.

'I spoke to my wife at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness,' Paine said

‘I spoke to my wife at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness,’ Paine said

Bonnie is a cosmetic surgery aesthetic nurse at Sanctum Medical Aesthetics in Hobart

She forgave Paine after finding out about the sexting scandal back in 2017

Bonnie is a cosmetic surgery aesthetic nurse at Sanctum Medical Aesthetics in Hobart

Tim Paine’s lewd text exchange

[Evening of November 22, 2017]

PAINE: I like good girl… but this other one sounds interesting.

WOMAN: When I’m good I’m good. When I am bad I am brilliant.

PAINE: Brilliantly bad??

[Morning of November 23, hours before Paine took to the field] 

WOMAN: I will think naughty thoughts about you whilst we watch the TV.

PAINE: I’m cracking! Ha ha. Naughty thoughts like what? I’m about to give something firm a pull…

WOMAN: Ha, sorry I’m getting ready for work … it’s a big day for us kids.

PAINE: Will you want to taste my ***?? F*** me, I’m seriously hard.

WOMAN: I thought we were resting hands.

PAINE: Can’t rest them when I’m this hard!! Need to ease the tension … Finish me off with those lips then 😉

[Paine then sends a photo of his penis] 

PAINE: Finish me off right now!!!

Cricket Australia was not aware of the messages until after Paine was appointed Test captain in March 2018 in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal.

Australian cricket is never far from a bombshell press conference, with Sandpapergate and the Paine debacle just two in a long list of discrepancies over the years.

In the mid-1990s, Shane Warne and Mark Waugh were fined after receiving money from ‘John’ the bookmaker, an Indian agent who paid both players in return for information about the pitch and the weather where Australia was playing.

The scandal was only discovered by members of the media in 1998, after which it blew up further because it was revealed the Australian Cricket Board had tried to cover up the incident. 

In 2003, Warne again hit the headlines and was forced out of the game for 12 months after testing positive for banned diuretic drugs, despite saying he took a diet tablet provided by his mother.

‘I feel I am the victim of the anti-doping hysteria,’ Warne said after the ban was handed down.

‘I also want to repeat: I have never taken any performance-enhancing drugs and I never will.’

In January 2003, Darren Lehmann, later to be the Australian coach, was banned for five matches after a racist slur made against the Sri Lankan team.

After being run out in a one-day game against Sir Lanka in Brisbane, Lehmann marched into the Australian dressing room where he was heard to say in the direction of Sri Lankan reserve players and management: “C***s, c***s, f***ing black c***s.”

In 1999, up-and-coming star batsman Ricky Ponting fronted a press conference with a black eye after he had been dropped from Australia’s one-day team.

Australian captain Steve Smith was forced to resign his leadership of the team back in 2018

Australian captain Steve Smith was forced to resign his leadership of the team back in 2018

Cameron Bancroft of Australia handles the ball during the third Test match between South Africa and Australia. He was later suspended for nine months for trying to rough up one side

Cameron Bancroft of Australia handles the ball during the third Test match between South Africa and Australia. He was later suspended for nine months for trying to rough up one side

The talented Tasmanian and future Australian captain had been knocked unconscious in a fight at a Sydney nightclub in the early hours of the morning.

At the press conference, Ponting said he had no recollection of the incident at the Bourbon & Beefsteak bar in Kings Cross, admitted to a problem with alcohol and said he would seek counselling.

And perhaps the most famous controversy remains the fateful day in 1981 when Australian captain Greg Chappell instructed his brother Trevor to bowl underarm to New Zealand batsman Brian McKechnie to deny him the chance of hitting a match-drawing six during a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 

In the mid-1990s, Shane Warne (centre) and Mark Waugh (left) were fined after receiving money from 'John' the bookmaker, an Indian agent who paid players in return for information

In the mid-1990s, Shane Warne (centre) and Mark Waugh (left) were fined after receiving money from ‘John’ the bookmaker, an Indian agent who paid players in return for information

In January 2003, Darren Lehmann, later to be the Australian coach, was banned for five matches after a racist slur made against the Sri Lankan team

In January 2003, Darren Lehmann, later to be the Australian coach, was banned for five matches after a racist slur made against the Sri Lankan team

The fateful day in 1981 when Australian captain Greg Chappell instructed his brother Trevor to bowl underarm to New Zealand batsman Brian McKechnie to deny him the chance of hitting a match-drawing six during a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

The fateful day in 1981 when Australian captain Greg Chappell instructed his brother Trevor to bowl underarm to New Zealand batsman Brian McKechnie to deny him the chance of hitting a match-drawing six during a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

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