Cricket Australia should have sacked Tim
as the Test captain in 2018 after the sexting scandal surfaced, the governing
body’s chairman Richard Freudenstein said on Saturday, adding that not doing so
“sent the wrong message that this kind of behaviour is acceptable”.

Paine stepped down from the role on Friday,
less than three weeks from the start of the Ashes series against England – who are
themselves embroiled in controversy since Azeem Rafiq alleged a number of
former and active cricketers of racism.

The wicketkeeper-batsman was investigated over
a series of explicit messages he sent to a female colleageue in 2017, before and
on the morning of the first Ashes Test in Gabba. The incident was investigated in
2018 but Paine was cleared of charges by Cricket Tasmania, where the woman worked,
and CA’s integrity unit of breaching their code of conduct was able to stay on.

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Freudenstein, who was elected to the board
in 2019, said Paine would not have been cleared had the incident occurred under
the current administration.

“While I cannot speak about the original
decision-making in 2018… with the benefit of all relevant information about
this matter, Cricket Australia would not make the same decision today,” Freudenstein
said at a presser.

“I acknowledge that the decision clearly
sent the wrong message to the sport, to the community and to Tim — that this
kind of behaviour is acceptable and without serious consequences. The role of
Australia captain must be held to the highest standards.”

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He said that since 2018, CA has tried to
educate players on acceptable behaviour and social media use, including sexually
explicit material. “But what is clear is that there are lessons to be learnt
and we, as an organisation, have more to do and will do more in this area,” he

Paine was appointed Test captain in 2018,
after then-skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were stripped of
their roles following the infamous ‘sandpaper-gate’ scandal.