Tim Paine, the former Australia captain, has taken an indefinite leave from cricket to deal with mental health issues. After his ‘sexting affair’ with a female colleague from 2017, the 36-year-old has found himself at the center of a controversy. Paine stood aside as captain of the Test team soon after, and Pat Cummins took his position at the helm. Cummins was selected vice-captain for the Ashes before being promoted to captain following Paine’s controversial incident. Paine was scheduled to play in the One-Day Cup for his state team, Tasmania, before the next five-match Test series, which begins on December 8.

“Tim Paine has informed Cricket Tasmania that he would be taking a leave of absence from all forms of cricket for the foreseeable future, following discussions over the previous 24 hours. Over the summer, Cricket Tasmania will continue to support Tim and his family professionally and personally,” Cricket Tasmania stated in a statement, according to Cricbuzz.

Tim Paine is being backed by California. Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, expressed his support for Paine and his family during this difficult time. “We understand that Tim and his family are going through a very tough period, and we are committed to helping them. Tim’s decision to take a hiatus at this time to focus on his and his family’s well-being is respected and understood,” Hockley added.

Paine’s manager, James Henderson, voiced concern for Paine and his wife’s health. “Confirming that (Paine) is taking an indefinite mental health vacation from cricket.” Henderson tweeted, “We are tremendously concerned for his and Bonnie’s well-being and will make no further remark at this time.”

Paine has previously stated that despite surrendering captaincy, he would be available for selection in the Test team. Now that he’s decided to leave for an undetermined amount of time, it’ll be interesting to see if he returns at least for the second half of the Ashes. Following recent developments, it’s likely that either Josh Inglis or Alex Carey will make their Test debut in Brisbane’s first Test. Shane Warne, the spin master, had urged Inglis to replace Paine as the Test keeper. After the ball-tampering scandal, Paine was named Australia’s Test captain in March 2018, and he captained the team for more than three and a half years.