Former Australia Test
captain Tim Paine has taken an indefinite break from the all form of the game citing
mental health issues.
The 36-year-old was due to play in Tasmania’s Marsh Cup game
on Friday before joining the Australia squad for the Ashes in Brisbane.
Paine’s manager James Henderson confirmed the development on
Twitter saying he [Tim Paine] is stepping away from cricket for an indefinite
mental health break.
His decision put an abrupt end to debate in Australia over
whether he should take part in the Ashes, with the first Test against England
opening in Brisbane on December 8.
“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 said
in a statement.
The Tasmanian keeper quit as Test captain a week ago over
the public revelation of an exchange of allegedly sexually graphic text
messages with a female colleague in 2017.
Australia’s opener Marcus Harris said only on Wednesday that
Paine had the full support of the Australian team and deserved to keep his
place for the first Test.
A five-person panel will decide on the new Test captain,
with Pat Cummins and Steve Smith seen as the frontrunners.
The panel reportedly will not include coach Justin Langer,
who has been told to focus on preparing the team.
Instead, the job will fall to selectors George Bailey and
Tony Dodemaide, Cricket Australia board member Mel Jones, chief executive Nick
Hockley and chairman Richard Freudenstein.
Paine took over as captain in March 2018 in the wake of the
“Sandpaper-gate” scandal that rocked Australian cricket.
Then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were
forced to step down for their roles in trying to alter the condition of the
ball during a Cape Town Test against South Africa.