Cricket Australia boss would ‘love’ to see Tim Paine return to Test side
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley says he would “love” to see Tim Paine make a comeback to the Test side.
Paine relinquished the Test captaincy and eventually announced an indefinite hiatus from cricket after a highly publicised sexting scandal last month.
He was replaced as captain by popular quick Pat Cummins, who snared five wickets in the first innings of the opening Ashes Test on Wednesday.
Alex Carey, long touted as Paine’s successor, has assumed wicketkeeping duties, leaving pundits to question whether Paine, 37, had played his last Test match.
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But on Thursday, Hockley said Paine had been an “exemplary captain” and that a return to the national side could still be on the cards.
“It’s obviously just a really, really difficult situation,” Hockley said on SEN.
“Let’s not forget that it was Tim’s decision to step aside and that was a decision the board felt was appropriate.
“He’s been an exemplary captain throughout his three years, done a phenomenal job and it’s just a very, very difficult situation.
“While he’s made a big mistake, he’s owned it, and he’s stepped aside to prioritise and look after his family.
“We’ve really sought to support him. Everyone really wants to support him as best we can.
“He made a big mistake, he served Australian cricket as captain supremely well over the last number of years, he’s paid an enormously high price.
“We’re all very, very concerned to make sure Tim is well supported.”
As Paine continues his break from behind the stumps, it could mean he is absent from a potential Ashes Test in his home state of Hobart, as CA prepares to announce which ground will replace Perth’s Optus Stadium as the host for the fifth Test.
Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart are believed to be the three main parties in the running to take over hosting duties after Perth was dumped by CA on Monday due to the logistical nightmare presented by a 14-day quarantine straight after the Sydney Test.
The decision to drop Perth was met by criticism from those in WA, including Police Minister Paul Papalia, who labelled CA as “completely inflexible” and a “pretty poor organisation”.
However, Hockley insisted the sport’s governing body did all it could to make it happen and felt the criticism was not justified.
“I think that’s entirely unfair,” Hockley said.
“I think we’ve worked really constructively with governments right around the country all throughout the last 18 months, including the Westerrn Australian government.
“So that’s certainly not reflective of the conversations and the spirit of the conversations that I’ve been having with counterparts over in Western Australia.
“Everyone’s been extremely constructive.
“In the end, delivering a Test match is a massive endeavour, a massive logistical endeavour, a major event – five days, a huge number of production personnel and in the end, it became pretty clear in the last 10 days that it was logistically not feasible.”
Originally published as Cricket Australia boss would ‘love’ to see Tim Paine return to Test side
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