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Tim Paine's wife Bonnie has broken her silence about the former Australian cricket captain's sexting scandal.
Paine stepped down from his position as Australia's Test captain less than three weeks out from the Ashes after a historical sexting scandal became public.
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The veteran wicketkeeper, who has been facing a race against time to be fit for the first Test against England on December 8, was named in a News Corp report for sending explicit messages to a female co-worker.
Paine said he sent messages to the former employee of Cricket Tasmania in late 2017 - a few months before he was made captain of the Test side in the wake of the ball-tampering saga in March 2018.
“Although exonerated (by a Cricket Australia Integrity Unit investigation), I deeply regretted this incident at the time and still do today. I spoke to my wife and family at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support,” he said on Friday.
“I’ve been blessed with a wonderful, loving and supportive family, and it breaks my heart to know how much I’ve let them down.
"They have always stood by me, been my most loyal fans, and I’m indebted to them for their support.”
Paine's wife Bonnie has since opened up on the scandal in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph and Herald Sun, saying she felt "betrayed and hurt" when she was first told.
"I have a bit of sympathy for Tim at the moment. A lot actually. He and I went through all of this privately in 2018. It was horrific then, and is really hard, and now," Bonnie said.
"I remember feeling angry because we had a little girl that wasn’t too old. At the same time, Tim and I had been in a long relationship, it’d been 10 years, and God knows we had had our ups and downs, and I don’t claim to be perfect, but I was still completely rocked."
Paine told the publications: “This is really distressing and upsetting, and I’m really embarrassed. I feel sick for Bonnie and for my family, more than anything else.”
Bonnie said the couple worked to put the scandal behind them when it first occurred and feels "frustrated" to have to go through it all again now.
"We had all dealt with it. Tim had dealt with the repercussions from Cricket Australia, being scrutinised and investigated, and then he had to tell me and deal with me being upset. Now, it seems unfair that it’s being aired out to everyone else to view and judge," she said.
Cricket Australia says Paine should have been sacked in 2018
On Saturday, Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein admitted Paine should not have survived as Test captain in 2018 as a result of the sexting scandal.
In a lengthy press conference on Saturday, Freudenstein claimed his current administration would not have cleared Paine's actions if in charge three years ago.
The CA boss also revealed a review of all recent integrity decisions in recent years would talk place as part of the fallout of the Paine drama.
Just months into his captaincy, Paine was cleared of any code of conduct breach in 2018 over the text exchange, which included a lewd image.
"I cannot speak about the original decision making in 2018," Freudenstein said.
"But 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.
"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."
When asked if his current administration would have endorsed Paine as captain in the circumstances, Freudenstein said he would not.
"Based with the facts as they are today, the board of Cricket Australia today would not have made that decision," Freudenstein said.
There will now be a closer look at other integrity issues in the sport.
"Every issue is different. Every circumstance is different," Freudenstein said.
"I'm very confident in the way integrity decisions are made and (with) the integrity unit.
"We will have a review back over the past few years. I'm sure that that will lead to no further changes."
Officials had already planned on searching for Australia's next captain this summer, with the expectation Paine would soon retire.
"I'm not going to make any comments about who is the likely (next captain)," Freudenstein said.
"You can be sure that part of that process will be trying to make sure to the best we are able to that those (integrity) issues don't exist."
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