Tim Paine has stepped down as Australia’s Test cricket captain amid a shock sexting scandal where he sent a lewd photo and explicit messages to a female staffer.
The married father-of-two young children was investigated by Cricket Australia in 2018 after the woman complained, but cleared of misconduct and the matter kept secret.
Paine, 36, sent a photo of his penis to a 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**?? F**k me, I’m seriously hard,’ one of the messages sent to the Cricket Tasmania employee read.
Paine, who has led the team since the Sandpapergate ball-tampering scandal in 2018, 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.
Australia’s Test cricket captain Tim Paine, a father-of-two who has been married to his wife Bonnie (pictured together) for five years, will step down from the team amid a shock sexting scandal
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!!!
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.
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.
Paine was brought in as the saviour of Australian cricket after captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were suspended, along with opener Cameron Bancroft.
The trio was caught on camera using concealed sandpaper to rough up the ball during the tour of South Africa.
Cricket Australia is believed to have found out about the sexting in June 2018 and launched an investigation, along with Cricket Tasmania.
The woman complained in 2018 about ‘Mr Paine’s sexually explicit, unwelcome and unsolicited photograph of his genitals in addition to the graphic sexual comments’.
She is said to have been taken aback by the comments and pornographic photo, which she found offensive.
However, the complaints were only made about seven months later when the woman was charged with stealing. Those charges are still before the courts.
Cricket Tasmania chairman Andrew Gaggin said the woman was earlier sacked by the organisation, but did not bring the messages up at the time.
Mr Gaggin said the organisation investigated the complaint as soon as it was received but ‘determined the interaction was consensual, private, occurred on the one occasion only, was between mature adults and was not repeated’.
‘Cricket Tasmania clearly does not condone this type of behaviour and addressed the matter directly with Tim Paine,’ he said.
‘However, because of the consensual nature of the actions it was determined that no further action was required or appropriate.’
Paine’s wife Bonnie, whom he has been married to for five years, was aware of the messages at the time but chose to stick by him
Bonnie is a cosmetic surgery aesthetic nurse at Sanctum Medical Aesthetics in Hobart
Paine said at his press conference that he was exonerated by these investigations, which found he did not breach the code of conduct.
His wife Bonnie, whom he has been married to for five years, was also aware of the messages but chose to stick by him.
‘Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time, and still do today,’ he said on Friday.
‘I spoke to my wife and family at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support.
‘We thought this incident was behind us and that I could focus entirely on the team, as I have done for the last three or four years.
‘However, I recently became aware that this private text exchange was going to become public.
‘On reflection, my actions in 2017 do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain, or the wider community.
‘I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and pain that I have caused to my wife, my family, and to the other party. I’m sorry for any damage that this does to the reputation of our sport.’
Paine announced his resignation in a statement on Friday afternoon and held a press conference and 2.30pm on Friday where he tearfully apologised
Paine, 36, sent a photo of his penis to a female co-worker along with a stream of lewd text messages
The woman interacted with Paine on and off for about a year, and both parties were flirtatious in the leaked messages.
But conversation took a sudden turn with the cricketer’s explicit messages just before she resigned from Cricket Tasmania.
She sent a letter to Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania, as well as the Australian Human Rights Commission, complaining of sexual harassment.
Paine broke down in tears at his press conference where he apologised to all those he hurt and let down, including Australian cricket fans.
He said he decided to resign because the messages were about to become public, and he didn’t want to be a distraction during The Ashes, which begin on December 8 in Brisbane.
‘I believe that it is the right decision for me to stand down as captain, effective immediately. I do not want this to become an unwelcome disruption to the team ahead of what is a huge Ashes series,’ he said.
‘I have loved my role…’ he said, his voice cracking as he wiped away a tear, ‘as captain of the Australian cricket team.
‘It’s been the greatest privilege of my sporting life to lead the Australian men’s test team. I’m grateful for the support of my teammates and proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together.
‘To them, I ask for their understanding and forgiveness. To Australian cricket fans – deeply sorry that my past behaviour has impacted our game on the eve of the Ashes.
‘For the disappointment I have caused to fans and the entire cricket community, I apologise. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful, loving and supportive family, and it breaks my heart to know how much I’ve let them down.
‘They have always stood by me, been my most loyal fans, and I’m indebted to them for their support.’
Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein minutes earlier issued a statement on Paine’s behalf, announcing the resignation as Test captain.
Paine was brought it as the saviour of Australian cricket after captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were suspended, along with opener Cameron Bancroft
‘I spoke to my wife and family at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support,’ Paine said on Friday
‘Tim felt it was in the best interests of his family and Australian cricket to take this decision to step down as captain,’ he said.
‘The Board has accepted Tim’s resignation and will now work through a process with the National Selection Panel of identifying and appointing a new captain.
‘While the Board acknowledges an investigation cleared Tim of any breach of the code of conduct regarding this matter some years ago, we respect his decision (to resign).
‘CA does not condone this type of language or behaviour.
‘Despite the mistake he made, Tim has been an exceptional leader since his appointment and the Board thanks him for his distinguished service.
‘Tim will continue to be available for selection in the Test team through the Ashes summer.’
Paine’s wife Bonnie, a cosmetic surgery aesthetic nurse at Sanctum Medical Aesthetics in Hobart, was in January bizarrely mistaken for an American folk singer by Indian media.
The mum-of-two often shares happy snaps with her children and wicket keeper husband on Instagram.
Bonnie and Paine (pictured at the Cricket Australia Awards at Crown Palladium on February 10, 2020) said ‘I do’ surrounded by friends and family at Home Hill Winery in Tasmania in 2016
The born and bred ‘Tassie girl’ seemingly has her hands full as she juggles motherhood with her husband’s cricket schedule.
The Indian reports appear to have gotten their wires crossed with an American performer who goes by the same name.
The musician Bonnie Paine was born in Oklahoma, where she grew up playing music with her sisters.
Her website biography says she can play numerous instruments and is a founding member and songwriter of internationally touring folk band Elephant Revival.
Bonnie and Paine said ‘I do’ surrounded by friends and family at Home Hill Winery in Tasmania in 2016.
Bonnie gave birth to their first child, Milla Elizabeth, in June 2017.
‘Still can’t believe how perfect she is,’ she wrote on Instagram alongside a picture of Paine and the newborn.
The couple then welcomed ‘pure perfection’, Charlie Thomas in September 2018.
Paine poses for photo with a fan during the NBL Blitz match between Cairns Taipans and Tasmania Jackjumpers on November 16, 2021, in Hobart
Attention has already turned to who will replace Paine as captain and wicketkeeper of the Australian Test team just three weeks before the first Ashes test.
Fast bowler and vice-captain Pat Cummins is considered the obvious choice and quickly backed by teammate Travis Head.
Steve Smith is another possibility three years after he was forced to resign and suspended for a year over the Sandpapergate scandal in March 2018.
Star opener David Warner is out of the running as he is banned from even holding a leadership position for his won role in the sorry episode.
Head was doing his own press conference for the South Australia Redbacks in Adelaide when the news broke and was asked questions about the scandal enveloping the team.
‘It’s a tough one at the moment to go into any of that because I don’t know the ins and outs,’ he said.
‘I haven’t spoken to Tim or the boys, I guess over the next 24 to 48 hours we’ll know more about it.
‘I think the group’s in a great space… everyone gets along really well, so what will be over the next 24-to-48 hours will be and we’ll move on.
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
‘It’s hard to comment on what’s going on at the moment, but as a whole, with the culture and where the team’s at, what you see with the T20 squad I think is very similar to the Test squad.
‘So I think Australian cricket as a whole with the guys we’ve got in, we’ve got good people and we’re fully behind everyone.’
Head hailed Cummins as ‘someone who oozes leadership’ and put forward Redbacks teammate Alex Carey as a possible replacement for Paine as wicketkeeper.
Australian women’s captain Meg Lanning was on ABC Sport’s The Pavillion and said she ‘hadn’t read a whole lot about it’ but expressed her disappointment in Paine’s character.
‘Obviously it’s not ideal for Tim personally or for Australian cricket, so I guess it’s a just a good reminder in some ways of the standards and behaviour I guess is expected of Australian cricketers and I guess when that doesn’t happen it can change pretty quickly,’ she said.
When asked is Paine should even be on the team she replied: ‘I guess that would come down to the team itself and the way they are looking at it.
‘They will obviously know a lot more details than what we would so I guess it comes down to the team’s call and what the best thing is for them and Australian cricket as well.’
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