Paine’s teammates declare their ‘love’ for ex-skipper as he pushes his case for inclusion in Australia’s test side after sexting scandal
Australian test teammates have declared their ‘love’ for Tim Paine and say they want him in the side for the upcoming Ashes series despite the sexting scandal that forced him to stand down as captain – and a lack of match fitness.
Paine’s position in the side for the first test starting on Dec. 8 is in jeopardy due to his long lay-off from neck surgery.
He is currently playing a Tasmania second XI game to prove his fitness and will play in a domestic one-day game against WA on Friday to further push his case.
While fitness remains a question, there are no character doubts among his supporters in the test team despite last week’s public revelation that the married Paine had exchanged sexual messages with a female employee of Cricket Tasmania back in 2017.
Star batsman Marcus Labuschagne was effusive in his backing for Paine when asked whether he wanted the soon-to-be 37-year-old in the Ashes team.
‘I’m a close friend of Tim and I love and support him so I hope everything is going well for him,’ Labuschagne said in Adelaide on Wednesday.
Paine and his wife Bonnie remain together after working through his sexting activity with another woman back in 2017, which went public last week.
Opening batsman Marcus Harris also voiced his support for the ex-skipper and said that was shared by the entire team.
‘Knowing Painey and his character, he’s a pretty strong and resilient bloke. If anyone can get through it, I’m backing Painey to,’ Harris said.
‘He’s done a really good job in the last few years, under tough circumstances.
‘You’d probably still argue that he’s still the best gloveman in the country and he still played some really important innings last summer against India.
‘I know he’s got the support of all the players.’
Paine’s selection for the one-dayer against WA on Friday meant he would travel to Queensland to hook up with the rest of the test squad on Sunday or Monday as they prepare for the first test.
Tim Paine’s efforts to push his case for test selection were not helped by being dismissed cheaply during a game for Tasmania’s second XI
Former players, including Shane Warne, have questioned the merits of keeping Paine in the Test team, given the sexting scandal, his age and lack of game time.
Paine has taken nine catches in the ongoing second XI game but failed with the bat, scoring just one run.