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Cricket Australia (CA) has been accused of hanging Tim Paine out to dry in a stunning new attack from Cricket Tasmania, which accused the governing body of treating the former Test captain "appallingly" over the explosive sexting scandal.
Paine stood down in disgrace last Friday after it was revealed he sent sexualised messages and an inappropriate image to a female Cricket Tasmania colleague in 2017.
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The veteran wicketkeeper says he took the decision to resign as Test captain, despite the backing of Australia coach Justin Langer, who wanted him to remain in the role.
In 2018, Paine was cleared by CA of any misconduct following a 2018 integrity unit investigation after the texts were found to be private, consensual and not an act of misconduct.
However, new CA chairman Richard Freudenstein sparked uproar by insisting Paine would not have survived the axe if it had happened under the current board.
Freudenstein's comments led to a stinging rebuke from his predecessor David Peever, who 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.
Peever slammed the current CA board for its treatment of Paine and said they had "abandoned" the former skipper in his time of need.
It's a view that has been echoed by Cricket Tasmania, whose chairman Andrew Gaggin on Tuesday launched an extraordinary attack on the governing body.
"In conversations I have had in recent days it is clear that the anger amongst the Tasmanian cricket community and general public is palpable," Cricket Tasmania chair Andrew Gaggin said in a statement on Tuesday.
"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.
"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."
Cricket Tasmania fully supports Tim Paine
Cricket Tasmania has previously said it became aware of the texts in mid-2018, with an investigation by the organisation and Cricket Australia clearing Paine of code of conduct breaches.
Paine has remained part of Australia's Ashes squad ahead of the first Test against England on December 8 and is making his return from injury in a second XI fixture in Hobart.
Gaggin said the Cricket Tasmanian board met on Monday and unanimously expressed its support for Paine.
"The Cricket Tasmania board reaffirmed its view that Paine should not have been put in a position where he felt the need to resign over an incident that was determined by an independent inquiry at the time to not be a breach of the Code of Conduct and was a consensual and private exchange that occurred between two mature adults and was not repeated," he said.
The 36-year-old wicketkeeper nabbed six catches on Monday for Tasmania's second XI, his first game since April, on return from neck surgery.
Cricket Tasmania earlier said the text messages came to their attention when the woman involved was charged with stealing from the organisation, something she denies.
Paine was appointed Test captain in early 2018 after the ball tampering saga, some months before Cricket Tasmania and Cricket Australia say they became aware of the texts.
Freudenstein, who wasn't in the role at the time, said the current board would have stripped Paine of the captaincy.
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