Former Australian skipper Paine back to training in Tasmania

SYDNEY: Former Australia captain Tim Paine, who quit after a sexting scandal last November and took an ‘indefinite mental health break’ from cricket, has ended his self-imposed exile and is back in training in Tasmania.

The 37-year-old wicketkeeper was omitted from Tasmania’s contract list in May but has been given the green light to train with the team ahead of the new season.

“It was great to have him come into my office and ask permission to train,” Cricket Tasmania chief executive Dom Baker told the Australian newspaper.

“He started here at the age of 16 all those years ago and has been part of our cricket ever since.

“He is training as an out-of-contract player to prepare for club cricket, but if it turns out he is close to his best, expect to see him play state cricket again. .

“All of Tasmania and I think most of Australia wants to see him end his career on his own terms.”

Paine was expected to lead Australia in the home series Ashes last year until the sexting allegations became public. He resigned and was replaced by Pat Cummins.

The cricketer was accused by a former Cricket Tasmania receptionist of sending him sexually explicit messages in 2017.

Paine, who said the texting was consensual, had been cleared by an internal Cricket Australia investigation in 2018 which only became public at the end of last year.