Tim Paine and family escape Hobart as fifth Ashes Test gets underway

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Tim Paine, pictured here with his family enjoying a getaway in Queensland.
Tim Paine and his family are enjoying a getaway in Queensland. Image: Bonnie Paine/Instagram

The first-ever Ashes Test in Hobart should have been a proud moment for Tasmanian native Tim Paine.

But the former Aussie captain is in Queensland with his family soaking up the sun and avoiding the spotlight in Tasmania.

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Blundstone Arena will host the fifth match of the Ashes series starting on Friday, the first time a Test has been held on the island state since 2016.

It is also the first time Tasmania has hosted an Ashes Test, but Hobart-born Paine will be a notable absentee.

Instead of being in Hobart he will spend the week in Queensland with his young family, seemingly keen to stay out of the spotlight.

Paine, who has long pushed for Tasmania to host more international cricket, stepped down as Test captain in mid-November when a sexting scandal became public.

Wife Bonnie uploaded a number of photos of the family enjoying their getaway on Thursday, thousands of kilometres away from Hobart.

Cricket Tasmania chairman Andrew Gaggin said this week's landmark Test will be bittersweet in the absence of Paine.

Gaggin, who has previously lashed Cricket Australia for their "appalling" treatment of the wicketkeeper, claimed the sport's governing body should have supported the 37-year-old and not regarded him as "dispensable".

Paine captained the Test side in 23 matches, but never in his home town.

"It's a bit bittersweet with Tim. We've made our position very clear in the past on that," Gaggin said on Tuesday.

"I haven't changed my mind on that. I don't think I want to say any more about it. It's a shame that he can't be here."

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After quitting as Test captain, Paine initially remained in Australia's Ashes squad before announcing on November 26 that he was taking a break from cricket for the "foreseeable future" for his mental health.

"At the moment he's taking it a moment at a time. We're working with him," Gaggin said.

"I know the ACA (Australian Cricketers' Association) are also keeping in touch and so is his manager. At the moment, I don't think he's given any commitment to play again this season."

Gaggin indicated the first three days of the Test at the 15,000-capacity ground have effectively sold out.

Tim Paine, pictured here before a Test match for Australia in 2019.
Tim Paine looks on before a Test match for Australia in 2019. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

An extra 500 tickets, ones not snapped up by sponsors, for each of the first three days have gone on sale to the general public.

"The interest from the Tasmanian public has been such that we could have sold out this game twice if we had greater capacity," Gaggin said.

"Some people said there was no interest in Test cricket in Hobart. In the first day of tickets going on sale, the first three days were pretty much sold out.

"I think that puts that to bed. Tasmanians love Test cricket. They're coming from all over the state to attend this game."

Australia, which holds an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Ashes, were humbled by South Africa in their last Test at Blundstone Arena, prompting wholesale changes to the side.

with AAP

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