Tim Paine is taking an indefinite break from all forms of cricket to look after his mental health after the sexting scandal cost him the Australian Test captaincy weeks ahead of the Ashes series. The break for the “foreseeable future” will see Paine missing out on the first Test against England at the Gabba and raises concerns he might not play for Australia again. 

The 36-year-old was due to play in Tasmania’s Marsh Cup game on Friday, after which he would join the Australian squad in Brisbane, but pulled out of the encounter in the morning. 

“Confirming that (Tim Paine) is stepping away from cricket for an indefinite mental health break. We are extremely concerned for his and Bonnie’s well-being and will be making no further comment at this time,” Paine’s manager James Henderson tweeted. 

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Cricket Tasmania said they will continue to support Paine and his family during these tough times.

“Following discussions over the last 24 hours, Tim Paine has advised Cricket Tasmania that he will be taking a leave of absence from all forms of cricket for the foreseeable future. Cricket Tasmania will continue to support Tim and his family both professionally and personally over the summer,” the governing body said in a statement. 

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said they “respect and understand” Paine’s decision to take a break. “We recognise that this is an incredibly difficult time for Tim and his family and are committed to supporting them. We respect and understand Tim’s decision to have a break at this time to focus on his and his family’s well-being.”

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The decision will most likely result in a Test debut for Alex Carey for the opening Test at the Gabba, with Josh Inglis also a contender to keep the wickets. Hockley said the National Selection Panel will meet in a few days to finalise the squad for the first test, from December 8-12. 

Meanwhile, fast bowler Pat Cummins has been named as the Australian Test captain, with former skipper Steve Smith selected as his deputy.