Liz Ellis makes explosive claim amid Aussie cricket sexting scandal

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·Sports Editor
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Liz Ellis, pictured here lashing cricket officials over the Tim Paine scandal.
Liz Ellis has lashed cricket officials over the Tim Paine scandal. Image: Channel Nine/Getty

Australian sporting legend Liz Ellis has hit out at cricket officials after the current Cricket Australia administration said Tim Paine should have been sacked as Test captain in 2018.

On Saturday, Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein admitted Paine should not have survived as captain in 2018 as a result of the sexting scandal that was made public last week.

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Freudenstein claimed his current administration would not have cleared Paine's actions if in charge three years ago.

"What I can say is faced with the same circumstances and with the benefit of all the relevant information about this matter, Cricket Australia would not make the same decisions today," he said.

"I acknowledge the decision clearly sent the wrong message to the sport, to the community and to Tim: that this kind of behaviour is acceptable and without serious consequences."

However those comments didn't go down well with Ellis, who lashed out at the Cricket Australia boss on Sunday.

"I feel like Richard Freudenstein has just passed the buck as well because he’s saying, ‘My board wouldn’t have done this’." the netball great said on Sports Sunday.

"But he got briefed when he came on board as chair, Nick Hockley got briefed about this.

“So they knew well before any of this has blown up publicly.

“Why didn’t he make the decision then? You can’t say, ‘Our board wouldn’t have done it’ if you didn’t make the decision when you knew about it, which was months ago.”

Freudenstein only joined the board in 2019, while CEO Hockley was hired by Cricket Australia the following year.

Both said they were made aware of the incident on joining the company, but did not delve into the investigation further as it was a closed case.

It was only in the past week that the case was re-examined, when it emerged News Corp had planned to print parts of the text message exchange.

"I was given a very high-level briefing that there had been an incident," Freudenstein said.

"A thorough investigation and no misconduct found. There was no reason to investigate that further at that stage."

Hockley claimed he previously had no reason to question CA's stance from 2018, with his focus largely being on keeping cricket going during the pandemic since joining.

Tim Paine, pictured here announcing his resignation as Test captain.
Tim Paine speaks to the media to announce his resignation as Test captain. (AAP Image/Ethan James)

Liz Ellis accuses Cricket Tasmania of 'victim-blaming'

Meanwhile, Ellis also accused Cricket Tasmania of "victim-blaming" after Paine was initially cleared of an wrongdoing.

“It’s worthwhile putting some context around that as well, in that there’s talk about it was consensual at the time but there was later a workplace complaint made,” Ellis said.

“I think we need to keep that in mind as well, that the person at the other end of the text messages did eventually make a complaint.

“I was disappointed to see Cricket Tasmania in the first line of their statement really try and discredit the woman involved. That was a terrible example of victim blaming and they probably need to have a long hard look at themselves.”

Tim Paine, pictured here with daughter Milla and wife Bonnie at the MCG in 2018.
Tim Paine with daughter Milla and wife Bonnie at the MCG in 2018. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Later on Sunday, former Cricket Australia chairman David Peever also hit out at the current board, accusing it of abandoning the fallen Test captain.

In an angry statement, Peever accused CA of a knee-jerk reaction and hit back at Freudenstein's claims the current board would have taken the captaincy off Paine three years ago.

Peever said it was unfair for Paine to be cleared of misconduct in 2018, only to have a new board say he should have been punished now following Friday's resignation.

"I'm disappointed to see a current chairman publicly criticising decisions of a previous board, several members of whom are still on the board and were part of the 2018 decision," Peever said.

"I'm also very disappointed at the way Tim Paine had been treated by Cricket Australia.

"Tim has been an incredible servant of the game and took over the leadership of the national team in the most difficult of circumstances.

"He has led with distinction for more than three years. He deserves Cricket Australia's loyalty and not to be abandoned at this time."

with AAP

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