SYDNEY: Former Australia captain Tim Paine, who resigned 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 wicket-keeper was omitted from Tasmania’s list of contracted players in May but was given the all-clear to train with the squad ahead of the new season.

“It was just great to see him come into my office and request permission to train,” Cricket Tasmania chief executive Dom Baker told The Australian newspaper.

“He started here as just a 16-year-old all those years ago and has been a part of our cricket ever since. He is training as an uncontracted player to get fit for club cricket, but if he proves to be anywhere near his best expect to see him playing state cricket again.

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

Paine was set to lead Australia into the home Ashes series last year until the sexting allegations became public. He stepped down and was replaced by Pat Cummins. The cricketer was accused by a former Cricket Tasmania receptionist of sending sexually explicit messages to her in 2017.

Paine, who said the texting was consensual, had been cleared by an internal Cricket Australia investigation in 2018 which was not revealed to the public until late last year.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2022

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