'Widely respected': Alan Jones leaps to defence of 'exemplary' Tim Paine

Pictured left, Alan Jones and former Australia Test captain Tim Paine on the right.
Alan Jones has leapt to the defence of former Australia Test captain Tim Paine. Pic: Getty/AAP

Australian broadcasting icon Alan Jones says large sections of the cricket community don't think Tim Paine should have resigned in response to the historical sexting scandal that's sent shockwaves through the sport.

Paine stepped down as Australia's Test captain on Friday after it was revealed he'd been involved in a sexting exchange with a one-time Cricket Tasmania employee in late 2017.

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Paine was initially part of a Cricket Tasmania investigation that only came to attention in mid-2018, after Paine had assumed the captaincy in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa that cost Steve Smith the position.

With Paine cleared of a code of conduct breach, Cricket Australia (CA) bosses kept the wicketkeeper-batsman in the position despite his elevation to the leadership being based around a good guy image seen as needed to restore pride and respect in the Test captaincy.

CA has come under fire after Friday's bombshell, with many accusing officials of sweeping the sordid Paine scandal under the carpet.

However, Jones has gone into bat for the disgraced former Aussie captain and personal friend, who the broadcaster described as an "exemplary" character.

The 80-year-old media icon insisted that Paine didn't need to resign as Test captain, but chose to do so for the benefit of Australian cricket.

“Tim has taken that decision, there are many in the Cricket Association and others that think that that decision was not necessary, and that is for people to make their own judgment about,” Jones said on Channel Seven's Sunrise program on Saturday.

“Tim Paine, the captain I know, is an outstanding individual, and that is why he was able to turn Cricket Australia and the Australian cricket team around (after the Sandpapergate scandal).

"He is widely respected by players. Yesterday players from every level volunteered support for him because they know him and they know who he is. Tim has to get on with his life.

“We have to be careful, people make mistakes, I do not think we should condemn people entirely because of one mistake.

“The argument volunteered by Cricket Australia, when they came to their own conclusions, was that they were mature adults and it was consensual, and it had not been repeated, and therefore there had been no breach.”

Seen here, Tim Paine chokes back tears after owning up to a sordid sexting scandal.
Tim Paine resigned as Australia's Test captain after his sexting scandal became public. Image: AAP

Alan Jones denies Cricket Australia has 'cultural problem'

Jones also said he backed Paine's desire to play in the first Ashes Test after CA confirmed that he would still be eligible.

The broadcaster also denied suggestions there were inherent cultural issues in Australian cricket, despite the fact the last two captains have exited in disgrace.

“I know these people, I don’t think there is a cultural problem,” Jones said of Cricket Australia.

The players' union also issued a statement reiterating its support for Paine and his desire to future for Australia in the upcoming Ashes series.

"While regrettable, this was an historical mistake that was a private matter between consenting individuals," the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) statement said.

"Tim fully cooperated in an integrity investigation by Cricket Australia in 2018 in which he was exonerated ... while Tim has clearly made a mistake, he will continue to have the full and unequivocal support of the ACA."

CA says it will work through a process of appointing a new skipper. Fast bowler and vice-captain Pat Cummins was tipped to assume the role once Paine retired.

CA chair Richard Freudenstein said Paine would continue to be available for selection in the Test team through the Ashes summer.

"While the board acknowledges an investigation cleared Tim of any breach of the code of conduct regarding this matter some years ago, we respect his decision," Freudenstein said.

"CA does not condone this type of language or behaviour.

"Despite the mistake he made, Tim has been an exceptional leader since his appointment and the board thanks him for his distinguished service."

with AAP

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