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PAINE QUITS POST SEXTING SCANDAL, HALES IN BLACKFACE ROW

Tim Paine has advised the Board of Cricket Australia of his decision to stand down as captain of the Australian men’s Test team.

Tim Paine sexting scandal
Tim Paine has stood down as Australian Test captain over a sexting incident from four years ago. (Image: AFP)

A look at the major headlines from cricket this past 24 hours. For part one from this week, click here.

Paine resigns amid sexting scandal

Less than three weeks before the start of the Ashes, Tim Paine has stood down as Test captain amid a text-message scandal from four years ago that has now emerged post an investigation by Cricket Australia (CA).

Speaking to reporters in Hobart on Friday, where he read out a statement and did not answer questions, Paine announced his resignation once details of the scandal were broken by News Corp. It has been reported that CA were made aware in 2018 of lewd text messages sent by Paine to a female colleague at Cricket Tasmania in 2017 shortly before the first Ashes Test of that summer.

The 36-year-old had been elevated to Australia’s Test captaincy during the Sandpapergate controversy in South Africa in 2018, after which CA was made aware of the texts when the woman in question made a complaint. In his press conference, Paine said that CA has “exonerated” him.

Who replaces him for the upcoming Ashes is not certain, but chances are that the vice-captain Pat Cummins will get the nod. Read Paine’s full statement here.

MTC India’s take: Oh, so CA was aware of this scandal and did not say a thing? And how convenient that Paine came out and apologised only when he became aware of these text messages going public, and after CA did an investigation on him. Australian cricket, get your house in order. 

Hales facing ECB probe into blackface image

Former England batsman Alex Hales is facing an England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) investigation after a photo was published in The Sun newspaper appearing to show him in blackface at a fancy dress party in 2009, when he was 20.

Hales, now 32, has said it was a tribute to Tupac Shakur, the rapper, adding: “At the time, [I] did not realise the offensive nature of this”.

Alex Hales England
Alex Hales was the BBL’s leading run-getter this year. (Credit: Getty)

This news comes 48 hours after Hales was accused former Yorkshire allrounder Azeem Rafiq of naming his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black, during his appearance in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee in the ongoing racism row. The ECB has said it will “investigate accordingly”.

Julian Knight MP, the chair of the DSMC committee, told The Sun: “This picture – coming on the back of a week when cricket was shamed like never before – is incredibly disturbing and offensive. The very soul of English cricket is now at stake.”

MTC India’s take: The skeletons keep rolling out of English cricket’s cupboard. Yes, Hales was 20 at the time of that photo, but given the new low that English cricket has hit, this one reeks. 

Rafeeq apologises for antisemitic comments

Rafiq, who has been the principal whistleblower in the ongoing scrutiny of racism in the English game, has apologised for making antisemitic comments in a message exchange with another cricketer in 2011.

Rafiq admitted making the remarks after evidence was revealed by The Times on Thursday, saying he was “ashamed of this exchange” with former Warwickshire and Leicestershire cricketer Ateeq Javid.

“I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offence. I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today,” said Rafiq, who also apologised to the Jewish community “and everyone who is rightly offended by this”.

MTC India’s take: Disappointing indeed to see revelations of Rafiq’s anti-semitic remarks, but not surprising. The men’s professional dressing room culture is clearly toxic. 

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