Tim Paine has stepped down as captain of Cricket Australia, effective immediately, less than a month before the home Ashes. After an off-field scandal in which he exchanged graphic texts to a female coworker at Cricket Tasmania in 2017, Paine made the decision. Paine’s resignation has been accepted by the board, and the team will now look to pick a new Test captain. “Tim believed it was in the best interests of his family and Australian cricket to take this decision to step down as captain,” CA Chair Richard Freudenstein said.

“While the Board appreciates that Tim was cleared of any code of conduct violations in this situation several years ago, we accept his decision. This type of language or behaviour is not tolerated by CA. Despite his mistake, Tim has been an outstanding leader since his appointment, and the Board appreciates his outstanding service. Tim will be available for selection in the Test team throughout the summer of the Ashes.” In a news conference held on Friday in Hobart, Paine announced his resignation.

“I’m announcing today that I’m stepping down as captain of the Australian men’s test squad. It was a difficult decision, but the correct one for me, my family, and cricket,” Paine said at the news conference, reading from a statement.

“Nearly four years ago, I was involved in a text exchange with a then-colleague as a background on my decision. The exchange was the subject of a thorough investigation by the CA Integrity Unit at the time, which I fully engaged in. Both that investigation and a Cricket Tasmania HR investigation concluded that no breach of the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct had occurred. Despite being exonerated, I felt terrible about the incident at the time, and I still feel bad about it now. At the time, I spoke with my wife and family, and I am grateful for their forgiveness and support. We assumed that the crisis was over and that I could return to focusing solely on the team, as I had done for the previous three or four years. ”

“However, I only recently learned that this private text discussion would be made public. My actions in 2017 did not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain or the greater community, on reflection. I sincerely regret the grief and pain I’ve caused my wife, family, and the other person. I apologise for any harm this has caused to our sport’s reputation. I also believe that stepping down as captain, effective immediately, is the proper move. I don’t want this to become an unwelcome distraction for the team before the crucial Ashes Series.”