Sports Writer Seth Nobes looks at who are the main candidates to replace Tim Paine as Australian Captain
Content Warning: this article has mentions of sexual harrassment.
Tim Paine’s shock resignation as Australian Test captain has not only left Australia in need of a new leader, but a wicket-keeper also. It was announced on Twitter by Paine’s manager, James Henderson, that the Tasmanian will be ‘stepping away from cricket for an indefinite mental health break.’ The revelation comes in light of a sexting scandal involving the former captain.
On Friday 19th November, a video was released of Tim Paine reading a statement in response to a leak of a text conversation with a female colleague. The conversation was at the centre of a sexual harassment claim alleged against the Tasmanian in November 2017. Paine went on to explain how an investigation was conducted at the time, with it being concluded that the wicket-keeper had not breached Cricket Australia’s code of conduct.
As a result, Paine was included in the squad for the 2017/18 Ashes series. Despite events off-field, Paine returned to the Australian Test team following a six-year hiatus due to injury in the first Test against England in November 2017. Furthermore, regardless of the allegations, Paine was brought in as captain to steady the ship following the ball tampering scandal in 2018. Consequently, Paine’s resignation has wider implications not just for Australia’s Ashes preparations, but also for Cricket Australia, its governing body.
The debate over who should replace Tim Paine behind the stumps was in full swing even before the shock announcement, with legends such as Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting weighing in. There is not a clear replacement, with Josh Inglis and Alex Carey both having valid reason to believe it will be them keeping wicket in the first Ashes Test in just under two weeks.
Long considered to be the long-term heir to the gloves, the 26-year-old announced himself in England over the summer with a match-winning unbeaten century for Leicestershire against Northamptonshire.
Known best for his white ball exploits, his inclusion in the Australia A squad for this winter’s series against England Lions shows the selectors’ belief in his red ball ability. Moreover, he has played the same number of First Class games as Carey, despite being 4 years younger. A gleaming endorsement from legend Shane Warne does not cover up his lack of international experience, with a first-class average of 34 suggesting Inglis may have to wait for his time to come.
Unlike Inglis, Carey has a wealth of international experience, even captaining Australia on three occasions. Furthermore, his name has never been far away from discussions of a contingency plan for Paine’s departure. An average of just below 30 in this season’s Sheffield Shield does not make for great reading, but should not distract from his incredible skills with the gloves. Moreover, a century against England in a 2020 One Day International indicates his current troubles to just be a poor run of form. Given the circumstances, Carey seems like the safer choice, with backing from a world-cup winning Australian captain Ricky Ponting supporting this.