Michael Clarke rips into Cricket Australia over Tim Paine scandal

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Michael Clarke, pictured here speaking to the media in Sydney.
Michael Clarke has questioned Cricket Australia's handling of the Tim Paine scandal. Image: Getty

Michael Clarke has ripped Cricket Australia over their handling of the Tim Paine scandal, questioning why he had to step down as Test captain if he was initially cleared.

Paine resigned as Australia's Test captain on Friday after lewd messages he sent to a female employee at Cricket Tasmania became public after four years.

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Cricket Tasmania previously said it became aware of the texts in mid-2018, with an investigation clearing Paine of any breaches of the Cricket Australia code of conduct.

However Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein said Paine would not have survived as Test captain under the current administration, which has changed since 2018.

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

“I don’t get it,” Clarke said on Big Sports Breakfast on Wednesday.

“If Cricket Australia were there telling him he had no choice, then he should’ve stood there and said: ‘Listen, that’s on you. You guys sack me, go for it but I gave you this information four years ago. I handed it to you, I was open, I was honest, I was straight and I was cleared’. 

“Just because it’s the public, the rules of engagement are different? I don’t think so. 

"It seems to me Cricket Tasmania are saying exactly that, hang on, you cleared him four years ago.”

Pat Cummins is believed to be the frontrunner to replace Paine as Test captain, with Steve Smith also in contention.

But Clarke said CA would be "looking for 15 years" if they want someone with a perfectly clean record.

“Go back in my time even to Ricky Ponting. If that’s the case, he never would have captained Australia,” Clarke said.

“He had a punch up in the middle of a Bourbon & Beefsteak. Are you not going to give him the job because of that?

“He’s a great example. He’s shown you how time, experience, maturity, playing at the highest level and even the captaincy turned him around.

“Where is the backing of the player as well? You’ll be looking for 15 years, we won’t have a captain.”

Tim Paine and Michael Clarke, pictured here in action for Australia against Pakistan in 2010.
Tim Paine and Michael Clarke in action for Australia against Pakistan in 2010. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Cricket Tasmania slams CA's 'appalling' Tim Paine treatment

Cricket Tasmania expressed similar sentiments on Tuesday, accusing the national governing body of treating Paine "appallingly".

Cricket Tasmania chair Andrew Gaggin inferred Cricket Australia (CA) hasn't shown Paine enough loyalty and there is "palpable" anger among the state's cricket community and general public.

"Tim Paine has been a beacon for Australian cricket over the past four years and instrumental in salvaging the reputation of the national team after the calamity of Cape Town," he said on Tuesday.

"Yet, at a time when (Cricket Australia) should have supported Tim, he was evidently regarded as dispensable.

"The treatment afforded to the Australian Test captain by Cricket Australia has been appalling, and the worst since Bill Lawry over 50 years ago."

Lawry was famously dropped as a player and Test skipper in the early 1970s, finding out about the decision via reporters and not selectors.

with AAP

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