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- Australian cricketer
Former Test captain and Tasmanian cricketer Tim Paine will not be in Hobart for the state's first ever Ashes Test, instead opting to holiday interstate.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Paine felt it would be more suitable for him to lay low in the wake of the damaging sexting scandal which resulted in him stepping away from the Test team and captaincy.
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Paine never played a Test in his home state, and his future with Cricket Australia remains unclear as he continues his leave of absence.
The Test match against Afghanistan in Hobart, originally scheduled for November, was postponed in the wake of the Taliban reclaiming power in the nation, while none of the other 20 Tests he played in Australia from 2017 to 2021 were in Tasmania.
The 37-year-old stepped down after it was revealed he had sent lewd pictures to a Cricket Tasmania employee in 2017.
In a recent interview on SEN, Australian Cricketers Association boss Todd Greenberg said Paine was doing well, but was obviously disappointed with how the summer has played out.
“He’s going OK is how I’d describe Tim,” Greenberg said.
“He’s terribly disappointed he’s not playing cricket and I’m disappointed he is not playing cricket too, but we are keeping in close contact and we’ll help him through it."
Crucially, Greenberg said the view among players was that they were broadly disappointed with how the situation had been handled.
“We made it very clear to Cricket Australia we thought there was a different way that could have been handled, but we’re not always going to agree," Greenberg said.
"The players felt it could have been handled differently, and they felt like the governing body didn’t have their back at that particular time.
“We’re creating trust between the players and the governing body, and that’s a big part of that. We took some steps backwards in that scenario, that’s just being brutally honest.”
Tinge of green forecast for Hobart Test
Australia and England batters won't be granted any favours by Blundstone Arena's head curator, who has pledged a Sheffield Shield-style green-tinged pitch for the fifth Ashes Test.
Hobart will on Friday host its first Test since the 2016 calamity in which Australia was thumped by South Africa by an innings and 80 runs.
The hosts were rolled for 85 in the first innings and 161 in their second, lasting a combined 93 overs.
Adam Voges, Callum Ferguson and Peter Nevill never played another Test, with only David Warner, Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja remaining in Australia's current top seven.
The venue has remained a haven for seam bowlers in the past five Sheffield Shield seasons, with batsmen averaging 27.82 compared to the competition average of 31.32.
The day-night pink-ball scheduling also bodes well for the quicks.
"It'll have a tinge of green on it, for sure. The lead-up hasn't been the greatest but we've always had a tinge of green on the wickets down here," Blundstone Arena head curator Marcus Pamplin said on Tuesday.
"There'll probably be one or two (millimetres of grass) left on it, just to keep the shine on the ball so they can get that swing.
"It'll be pretty much similar to our Sheffield Shield tracks."
The field was virtually underwater due to recent heavy rain but Pamplin said preparations hadn't been affected.
Showers are forecast on day one but are expected to lessen as the match progresses.
Despite the ground proving tougher for batters, Western Australia posted 9-405(dec) batting first in the most recent Shield fixture with Tasmania chasing down 315 to win on the final day.
"I expect it to be a good contest. Especially, first day, there'll be a bit in it," Pamplin said.
"At some period in the game it'll flatten out to a good batting pitch. It should go up and down, day three to four."
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