Former Australia test cricket captain Tim Paine is set to miss the first Ashes test and is taking an indefinite mental health break from the game.
The news comes a week after Paine tearfully quit as captain after revelations of a scandal involving the sending of inappropriate texts to a female co-worker in 2017.
Cricket Australia, which named fast bowler Pat Cummins as Paine's replacement on Friday, said Paine advised them he would be “stepping away from cricket for a period of time."
"We recognize that this is an incredibly difficult time for Tim and his family and are committed to supporting them," Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said in a statement. “We respect and understand Tim’s decision to have a break at this time to focus on his and his family’s well-being.”
Paine’s teammates were hoping for the wicketkeeper to play on Dec. 8 — his 37th birthday — when Australia’s five-test series against England begins in Brisbane. As of Thursday, the veteran was scheduled to join the test squad this weekend.
Paine was called up and set to bat in Tasmania’s one-day match against Western Australia on Friday, giving him a chance to play five consecutive days of cricket after a low-key return via the state’s second XI.
But Cricket Tasmania (CT) said Friday that Paine would not take his spot in the side.
“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,” CT said in a statement. “Cricket Tasmania will continue to support Tim and his family both professionally and personally over the summer.”
Likely wicketkeeper replacements for Paine in the test side are Alex Carey or Josh Inglis.