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Perth Scorchers team. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Perth Scorchers team. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
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Perth Scorchers Docked For Breaching BBL Rules After Fielding Brayden Stepien

Perth Scorchers were found guilty of a breach of the Big Bash League (BBL) Player Contracting and Remuneration Rules at a Cricket Australia Code of Conduct Commission hearing.

The Perth Scorchers fielded Central Local Replacement Player Brayden Stepien during their Big Bash League match against the Adelaide Strikers at Adelaide Oval on Friday, January 14.

Local replacement player Brayden Stepien’s first appearance as a Perth Scorchers came in remarkable circumstances.
Local replacement player Brayden Stepien’s first appearance as a Perth Scorcher came in remarkable circumstances. Credit: Fox Cricket

Perth Scorchers Quilty Of Breaching BBL Rules After Using Central Replacement Player Incorrectly

Perth Scorchers have been found guilty of breaching BBL contracting rules after using a central replacement player incorrectly during their loss to Adelaide Strikers on January 14, but will still finish top of the ladder as the BBL lock away their finals venues.
Laurie Evans of the Perth Scorchers (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Laurie Evans of the Perth Scorchers (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Perth Scorchers called in a replacement player Brayden Stepien from the newly-created central pool to keep wicket for 14 overs during the Strikers match after Laurie Evans, who was initially picked to keep the wicket, had suffered an injury. The Perth franchise was already missing Josh Inglis, who was with Australia’s Test squad, while Cameron Bancroft was missing due to Covid.

Brayden Stepien Kept Wicket For 14 Overs During The Adelaide Striker’s Innings Despite Not Being Part Of Perth Scorchers’ 18 Men Squad

Brayden Stepien kept wicket for 14 overs during the Adelaide Strikers’ batting innings despite not being part of the Perth franchise’s 18-player squad.

“At the hearing, Commissioner Alan Sullivan QC heard evidence from representatives of both Clubs and Cricket Australia. He determined that Stepien was an ineligible player for the match and as such, the decision to field Stepien was a breach of the Rules,” said an official statement.

Adelaide Strikers (Image Source: @StrikersBBL)
Adelaide Strikers (Image Source: @StrikersBBL)

The Commissioner determined the penalty for the Perth Scorchers would be the deduction of their Bash Boost point earned on the night. He noted the unique and challenging circumstances of the current Big Bash League season and the low impact of this breach.

For clarity, the Bash Boost point from that match will not be awarded to the Adelaide Strikers. Brayden Stepien was on standby for the game as a replacement player, but clubs need to officially add the replacement player to their squad list prior to the game to allow him to play. But Brayden Stepien was called upon to field despite not being added to the Perth Scorchers list.

An undermanned Perth Scorchers outfit has been dealt a “rude shock”, producing their lowest total of BBL11 in just their third loss of the summer as the Adelaide Strikers kept their slim finals hopes alive. Pacer Matt Kelly returned a positive PCR test result for COVID-19 and didn’t travel with the squad. Batsman Cameron Bancroft also returned a positive PCR test result while in isolation, joining Colin Munro. Mitchell Marsh, Josh Inglis, and Ashton Agar were also unavailable for selection.

With six first-choice Scorchers unavailable, the Adelaide Strikers on Friday played with great discipline – with both bat and ball – to record an impressive six-wicket win in their first game without superstar spinner Rashid Khan in a rare mid-morning BBL game at the Adelaide Oval. It was Adelaide Strikers’ second consecutive win, helping it jump into the top five on the table amid the crucial closing stages of the BBL regular season.

Michael Vaughan. (Image Credits: Getty)
Michael Vaughan. (Image Credits: Getty)
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Michael Vaughan Reckons Justin Langer Is Doing A Fantastic Job As Australia’s Head Coach

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain has advised Australia against ending head coach Justin Langer’s tenure when his contract ends in mid-2022. Michael Vaughan believes Justin Langer has done a commendable job since taking the team’s charge three years ago.

Cricket Australia will decide whether or not to extend Justin Langer’s tenure after the ongoing Ashes 2021/22 series. While the West Australian intends to continue in the role and has done remarkably well, the board could replace Justin Langer.

Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Michael Vaughan Reckons Justin Langer’s Doing A Fantastic Job And If He Was Cricket Australia, He Would Sign Him Up For 2 More Years

Michael Vaughan said that Australia must extend Justin Langer’s contract. Justin Langer, Australia coach had earlier hinted that he would seek an extension of his four-year contract, expiring in June 2022, saying he “loves his job”. Justin Langer had faced criticism for his coaching methods from the players but now has a Twenty20 World Cup in his CV besides adding the coveted Ashes Trophy 2021/22 win to it.

The 47-year old feels the national team might suffer from Langer’s departure, so he should stay for two more years, saying: “I would jump at the chance. Be careful what you wish for – that’s all I’ll say. The grass is not always greener, and Justin Langer, from what I see – he’s doing a fantastic job. If I was Cricket Australia, I’d sign him up for at least a couple more years.”

Australia wins 2021 T20I World Cup In UAE [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]
Australia wins 2021 T20I World Cup In UAE [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]
Justin Langer came under serious pressure after last year’s home series loss to India. The 51-year old’s fraught relationship with the players also emerged. However, he boosted his chances of remaining with the team following the World T20 and Ashes 2021/22 wins.

Opener David Warner fired another shot at his critics and Mitchell Marsh scored a quickfire half-century as Australia cruised to its maiden T20 World Cup triumph, beating New Zealand by eight wickets.

Justin Langer was given the job to overhaul the team’s culture and regain the respect of the Australian public after the ball-tampering scandal of 2018 (Sandpaper Gate) which saw then skipper Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft banned for a year or so.

Michael Vaughan Suggests England May Appoint Justin Langer As Coach If Australia Doesn’t Want Him To Continue

Michael Vaughan also backs Justin Langer to lead Australia to an Ashes victory in England next year, trusting his knowledge and experience.

However, he also feels the 105-Test veteran would be a perfect fit for England’s coach, saying: “He’d take all that information to make sure that in 2023, Australia go on to win the Ashes convincingly in English conditions because they’ve got the squad and the mentality around the group with Justin’s kind of leadership to go on and do so. But if you don’t want him, yeah, we’ll have him.”

Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)

Australia has won the Ashes for the third time in a row as they lead the five-match series 3-0. They have beaten England convincingly in all three Tests.

In the ongoing Test, Usman Khawaja departed after scoring a fantastic century on return to Test cricket to power Australia to 416/8 declared in the first innings while Stuart Broad took a brilliant five-wicket haul on Day 2 of the 4th Ashes Test at the SCG.

Usman Khawaja was added to the Australia squad after middle-order batter Travis Head returned positive for COVID-19 last week. This is also Usman Khawaja’s first international match since the 2019 Ashes in England.

Australia has made one forced change in their XI for the 4th Test match as Usman Khawaja has replaced middle-order batter Travis Head who was ruled out for this match after testing positive for Covid-19. Meanwhile, pacer Scott Boland has been retained in the XI as Josh Hazlewood still hasn’t recovered from injury.

Justin Langer
Justin Langer
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Justin Langer Would Seek Extension Of His 4 Year Contract Ending In June 2022

Justin Langer, Australia coach on Thursday hinted that he would seek an extension of his four-year contract, expiring in June 2022, saying he “loves his job”.

Justin Langer had faced criticism for his coaching methods from the players but now has a Twenty20 World Cup in his CV and is also close to adding the coveted Ashes Trophy win to it.

Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
Justin Langer. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Justin Langer Loves His Job Of Coaching The Australian Team And Would Seek An Extension Of His 4 Year Contract Ending In June 2022

Australia is leading the home series against England 2-0. The 51-year-old former Test opener and current coach insisted that his thought process has not changed.
Opener David Warner fired another shot at his critics and Mitchell Marsh scored a quickfire half-century as Australia cruised to its maiden T20 World Cup triumph, beating New Zealand by eight wickets.

“I have never thought differently, to be honest. I have been consistent with what I have said for the last four years. I love my job,” Langer was quoted as saying.

“The boys are playing well, no doubt about it, it’s a great team to be involved in. So, nothing has changed from my point of view.”

Australia wins 2021 T20I World Cup In UAE [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]
Australia wins 2021 T20I World Cup In UAE [Aamir Qureshi/AFP]
Australia’s maiden T20 World Cup win was expected to help his cause when cricket officials meet after the Ashes to discuss whether to renew his contract next year. Retaining the Ashes at home would almost cement that — after a period in which Australia recovered from the 2018 ball-tampering scandal to retain the urn in England but lost two home series to India.

Former skipper and much-respected former batsman Steve Waugh is one of those cricketing figures in Australian cricket who advocate splitting the coaching duties.

“Langer confirmed he wanted to remain in charge of the Test squad and the limited-overs teams in the long term, for there has been a debate that the senior coach for the red-and-white-ball teams should be split,” the report said.

“Langer’s senior assistant Andrew McDonald would be the ideal white-ball coach if Langer remained and the roles were split. McDonald, who listens closely to players and has an excellent rapport, is seen as a fine leader and also capable of guiding all three teams.”

Justin Langer was given the job to overhaul the team’s culture and regain the respect of the Australian public after the ball-tampering scandal of 2018 (Sandpaper Gate scandal) which saw then skipper Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft banned for a year or so.

Justin Langer: Struggling Marcus Harris Will Play 3rd Ashes Test

Australia will retain struggling opener Marcus Harris for the third Ashes Test and are confident paceman Mitchell Starc will recover from a rib problem in time to bowl at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, coach Justin Langer said. With 38 runs in four innings so far in the series, Marcus Harris is the one specialist batter in the Australia team who did not thrive as the hosts secured big wins in the first two Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Marcus Harris (AP Photo)
Marcus Harris (AP Photo)

Regular skipper pacer Pat Cummins and fellow fast bowler Josh Hazlewood will return to the squad later on Thursday after missing the second Test in Adelaide, which Australia won by 275 runs.

England suffered humiliating defeats in the first two Tests — by nine wickets in the tour opener at the Gabba and by 275 runs in the next outing at Adelaide Oval. The visitors need to win the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground to keep the five-match series alive. The third Test match starts on December 26. It will be followed by matches in Sydney (January 5 to 9) and Hobart (January 14 to 18).

Australia's Aaron Finch (L) and teammate David Warner (R) are expected to open throughout the World Cup. Photo: AFP
Australia's Aaron Finch (L) and teammate David Warner (R) are expected to open throughout the World Cup. Photo: AFP
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David Warner Thrives On Criticism, Says Aaron Finch

David Warner might be a polarizing figure, but the aggressive opening batsman is rarely boring with his batting, and his heroics for Australia at the recently concluded Twenty20 World Cup signalled he is back to his explosive best.

Now aged 35 years, the larger-than-life opener David Warner boasts an average just shy of 50 from his 86 Tests, with his swashbuckling presence able to turn a game into its head.

David Warner (Associated Press)
David Warner (Associated Press)

David Warner’s Record In Australia Is Feared: James Anderson

Even England pace bowler and fellow veteran James Anderson, who will go eyeball to eyeball with his old foe when the Ashes 2021/22 begins on December 8 in Brisbane, has grudging respect.

“We’ve played so much cricket against David Warner, we know you can never say you’re actually on top of him — he’s that good of a batter, he’s got that much quality,” Anderson said.

“His record in Australia is ridiculous, so we know it’s going to be a different animal to the one we faced in 2019 in our summer.”

James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

An attacking left-hander, David Warner, will feel he has unfinished business after a miserable Ashes, the last of which came on English soil in 2019 where he tallied just 95 runs at an average of only 9.5 in 5 Tests. Stuart Broad was his nemesis, dismissing him seven times. But as James Anderson alluded to, his form in Australia is enviable.

David Warner has scored 4,551 of his 7,311 Test runs at home, smacking 18 centuries at an average of 63.20 from his 45 Tests, plundering the highest score of unbeaten 335.

David Warner Is Important Batsman At The Top Of The Batting Order: Greg Chappell

Former Australian captain Greg Chappell warned that he should never be underestimated.

“Many had written him off before the T20 World Cup, only to have him prove how important he is at the top of the order,” he said, referring to Warner finding form again in leading Australia to the title last month.

“I think he is even more important in the Test line-up,” added Chappell.

“A skilful, fast-scoring opening batsman can be invaluable in setting up the game. Teams with aggressive openers cause opposition captains and bowlers to toss and turn at night.”

David Warner made a modest debut in Brisbane 10 years ago but then carried his bat with a career-defining century in his second game at Hobart to signal his arrival. He went on to establish himself as one of the best all-format openers in the world before it all came crashing down and his reputation was trashed.

Greg Chappell
Greg Chappell.

David Warner was cast as the villain in the infamous “Sandpaper-gate” ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in 2018, having conspired with Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith to alter the ball during the third Test in Cape Town. He was then widely seen as a central figure in the cultural crisis that engulfed Australian cricket.

He was stripped of the vice-captaincy and banned from ever holding a leadership role again in the team besides being banned for a year. David Warner served a 12-month ban before being called up again and promptly picked up where he left off, enjoying a prolific one-day World Cup before his poor Ashes series in 2019 that again had the critics writing him off.

But in typical fashion, he bounced back emphatically by scoring an epic unbeaten 335 against Pakistan in Adelaide later that year.

Another lean spell this year cost him his place on his Indian Premier League team Sunrisers Hyderabad, but once more, he proved the doubters wrong with his 2021 T20I World Cup exploits. Aaron Finch, the skipper of Australia’s triumphant T20 team, said David Warner thrived on criticism.

“Can’t believe people wrote him off. That’s when he plays his best cricket. It was almost like poking the bear.”

Former Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) captain David Warner has confirmed the franchise has released him despite his stellar campaign in the T20 World Cup 2021, where he bagged the Player of the Tournament award for 289 runs in seven matches for Australia. IPL 2021 has been the Australian’s worst season ever with just 195 runs in 8 games, with two fifties, averaging 24.38, and striking at 107.73.

Shane Warne
Shane Warne
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Shane Warne Injured Himself In A Motorbike Accident

Shane Warne, the former Australian spinner, has injured himself in a motorbike accident. Shane Warne was riding his bike with son Jackson when he fell off and slid for more than 15 meters, it was reported.

Shane Warne - Getty Images
Shane Warne – Getty Images

Shane Warne Avoided Serious Injury In A Freak Motorbike Accident

Shane Warne has avoided serious injury but woke up the next morning in pain. The 52-year-old also went to the hospital, fearing he might have broken his foot or damaged his hip. However, the former Australia spinner is still expected to do the broadcasting duties for the upcoming Ashes, beginning December 8 at the Gabba.

“I’m a bit battered and bruised and very sore,” said Warne after the accident.

Pat Cummins takes over the vacant Test captaincy with the Ashes series looming. Credit: AAP
Pat Cummins takes over the vacant Test captaincy with the Ashes series looming. Credit: AAP

Earlier, Shane Warne caught media attention as he publicly criticized the Australian Cricket team for making Steve Smith the vice-captain. However, with a few days to go for the Ashes 2021-22, Cricket Australia (CA) finally appointed Pat Cummins as the skipper of the Australian Test cricket team and Steve Smith as his deputy last week.

Shane Warne Slammed CA For Giving Steve Smith A Second Chance After Sandpaper Gate Scandal In 2018

Steve Smith and Pat Cummins were the top contenders for the captaincy after Tim Paine stepped down from his leadership duties due to his alleged involvement in a sexting scandal.  Following the announcement of the new captaincy, the former Australian spinner in his column slammed Cricket Australia for appointing Steve Smith as vice-captain of Australia’s Test cricket team.

Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, and Marnus Labuschagne. Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Although the former spinner Shane Warne called Steve Smith one of the best batters around the world, he slammed Cricket Australia for giving the 32-year-old cricketer a second chance after the sandpaper gate scandal. Shane Warne went on to say that Marnus Labuschagne should have been the vice-captain.

Along with David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith were handed bans by Cricket Australia for their role in the sandpaper gate ball-tampering episode in Cape Town, which rocked Australian cricket in 2018.

Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell
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Ian Chappell Slammed Cricket Australia To Appoint Steve Smith As Vice-Captain

Ian Chappell has slammed Cricket Australia’s (CA) decision to appoint Steve Smith as vice-captain of the team ahead of the five-Test Ashes series beginning at the Gabba on December 8.

Ian Chappell’s comments have put the spotlight back on the ball-tampering episode that took place during the third Test against South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town, in 2018.

Ian Chappell. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ian Chappell. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Ian Chappell Thinks Steve Smith’s Crime In 2018 Sandpaper Gate Scandal Was Greater And Shouldn’t Have Been Appointed Vice-Captain

The-then Australian skipper Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and team-mate Cameron Bancroft were banned for different periods following the ball-tampering scandal, which came to be known as “Sandpaper-gate”. In addition to a one-year suspension, a two-year leadership ban was also imposed on Steve Smith, while David Warner, who was the then vice-captain, also received a year ban, as well as a lifetime leadership ban.

Ian Chappell said, “If I’d have cheated as an Australian captain, they (CA) would have taken the job away from me and made sure I didn’t continue to play as a player.”

“I wish that Cricket Australia had made a clean break, but for Cricket Australia to get anything right at the moment is asking a bit much,” Ian Chappell said on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio on Saturday.

Steve Smith (Image Credit: Twitter)
Steve Smith (Image Credit: Twitter)

“For starters, I have a problem — why is Steve Smith looked upon as a different punishment to David Warner? In fact, if anything, I think Steve Smith’s crime was greater. For a captain to say, ‘I don’t want to know’ when cheating is involved, is not correct. A captain’s got to know, he’s got to find out and he’s got to do something about it.

“Either Steve Smith has a two-year ban from captaincy and so does David Warner, or Steve Smith has a life ban and so does Dave Warner. Same thing,” said Ian Chappell.

Pat Cummins has been appointed as Australia’s 47th Test captain, while Steve Smith has been named his deputy ahead of the home Ashes 2021/22, which starts on December 8 in Brisbane. Steve Smith returned to a leadership role for the first time since the Sandpaper Gate in 2018. Steve Smith captained Australia in 34 Tests prior to 2018, in which he guided them to 18 victories, 10 defeats, and six draws.

Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned by Cricket Australia (CA) for different duration, not exceeding one year, over their role in the ball-tampering episode — also termed Sandpaper-gate scandal — in the 2018 Test series in South Africa.

Ian Chappell Said Cheating  Is A Mistake, And He Didn’t Ever Cheat

Ian Chappell said that had he committed such an indiscretion, Cricket Australia would never have forgiven him, probably shut the door on him for life.

“Cheating is cheating, whether it’s big cheating or little cheating, it’s still cheating in my book. If I’d have cheated as an Australian captain — I mean I made a lot of mistakes but I didn’t cheat.

“And if I had cheated, and if I had done what Tim Paine did, I would have expected Cricket Australia to not ask me to resign, they would have taken the job away from me and made sure I didn’t continue to play as a player,” said Ian Chappell.

Cricket Australia
Cricket Australia

Steve Smith had succeeded Michael Clarke as Australia’s captain in all formats in 2015. He was captain of the team when England last toured the country for the Ashes.

However, his captaincy came to an abrupt end in 2018 amidst the Newlands (South Africa, 2018) ball-tampering scandal, which resulted in him and David Warner being banned from all cricket for a year.

Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
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Marcus Harris Is Confident That Tim Paine Has Got The Support Of His Teammates

Marcus Harris, an Australia batsman, is confident that Tim Paine has the support of all the players, saying that the former Test skipper and head coach Justin Langer are yet to address the squad.

Marcus Harris also revealed that the playing group found out about Tim Paine’s decision to step down just 30 minutes before he faced in the media on Friday.

Marcus Harris (AP Photo)
Marcus Harris (AP Photo)

Marcus Harris: News About Tim Paine’s Scandal Was A Shock

Marcus Harris, as expected, got the nod for Ashes 2021/22 in the absence of concussion-hit Will Pucovski and is expected to open alongside David Warner, fresh from his exploits in helping Australia win the Twenty20 World Cup.

“There wasn’t much time to digest it, but it was a shock,” Harris told reporters on Wednesday.

“Tim’s obviously been a greater leader around the group, he’s always been really good to me and my family – our hearts went out for Tim, and Bonnie, and the kids and his family. As long as it’s COVID-safe I’ll give him a hug,” he added.

Australia Captain Tim Paine has stepped down from the role (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)
Australia Captain Tim Paine has stepped down from the role (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)

Tim Paine stepped down as Australia’s Test skipper on Friday after it emerged that he had sent an unsolicited explicit image of himself along with a string of lewd messages to a female co-worker in 2017, months before he was made captain, following the Sandpaper Gate scandal where then skipper Steve Smith was axed for a year.

Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned by Cricket Australia (CA) for different duration, not exceeding one year, over their role in the ball-tampering episode — also termed Sandpaper-gate scandal — in the 2018 Test series in South Africa.

“He’s done a really good job in the last few years, under tough circumstances. You’d probably still argue that he’s still the best gloveman in the country, and he still played some really important innings last summer against India. I know he’s got the support of all the players,” said Harris, who has played all his 10 Tests under Paine’s captaincy.

The Test opener said the players have reached out to the wicketkeeper individually, but Justin Langer and Tim Paine haven’t addressed the squad directly. Marcus Harris, who has played all of his 10 Test matches under the leadership of Tim Paine, said that he has the support of all players and also mentioned that he personally messaged him.

“Probably everyone’s spoken to him personally, I sent him a message the other day and spoke to him a little bit. Obviously Painey’s a very popular member of the group.”

In September, Tim Paine, who had gone under the knife to fix a bulging disc in his neck, is the only stumper in Australia’s 15-player squad for the Ashes, which was announced before he stepped down. The development comes weeks ahead of the five-Test Ashes series against traditional rivals England. The first Test begins in Brisbane on December 8.

Marcus Harris: Australia Have Got Leaders In The Group

Marcus Harris is confident there are several players in the squad who can step up and lead the side.

“People were a bit shocked, but we’ve got leaders around our group – so it’s not ideal, but someone’s going to have to step up and lead from the front and there’s plenty of people who can do that job.”

Steve Smith (Image Credit: Twitter)
Steve Smith (Image Credit: Twitter)

Tim Paine is expected to play an intra-squad match, starting December 1, but they’re still isn’t clear if he will be included in the playing XI after the recent developments.

Cricket Australia is yet to name a successor for Tim Paine, but senior pace bowler Pat Cummins and swashbuckling batter Steve Smith remain the front-runners for the post. Marcus Harris said Australia has many potential leaders in the team to take over the captaincy from Tim Paine. Marnus Labuschagne revealed his captaincy ambitions just this week but is yet to lead his state and has played only 18 Tests.

Steve Smith (Image Credit: Twitter)
Steve Smith (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Making Steve Smith Australian Skipper Again Will Add To The Circus: Ian Healy

Ian Healy, former Australian wicketkeeper-batter, has said that making Steve Smith the leader of the side for the Ashes — beginning in a fortnight’s time in Brisbane — will “add to the circus”, given that Tim Paine has already stepped down as the Test captain of the side in the wake of the sexting scandal.

Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned by Cricket Australia (CA) for different duration, not exceeding one year, over their role in the ball-tampering episode — also termed Sandpaper-gate scandal — in the 2018 Test series in South Africa.

Steve Smith captained Australia in 34 Tests prior to 2018. (AFP Photo)
Steve Smith captained Australia in 34 Tests prior to 2018. (AFP Photo)

Ian Healy: Appointing Steve Smith As Skipper Again Will Add To The Circus

Following the episode, Tim Paine was given the reins of the Australian Test side, with Justin Langer becoming the chief coach. But with Tim Paine now in the midst of a sexting scandal involving a former Cricket Tasmania official(for which Tim Paine stepped down as skipper), Australian legend Ian Healy feels making Steve Smith captain will do Australian cricket no good given the developments of the last few days.

“We’re going to add to the circus by Steve Smith being appointed after that (the Tim Paine episode). I’ve got no problems with Steve Smith captaining Australia again; he paid a heavy price for just being a lazy captain, that’s about all he was guilty of,” Ian Healy said.

“Too many people around there think he was actually in there scratching that ball in South Africa, but if they’ve forgotten what happened he just wasn’t aware enough as captain to pull the reigns in and stop what was going to happen,” added Ian Healy.

Ian Healy---Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
Ian Healy—Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

“That was his (Smith) crime, and he got a year (ban) for it. So, I’ve got no problems, but I don’t think he needs to come in as vice-captain or straight after Paine’s indiscretion.”

Speaking on the issue of Paine relinquishing his captaincy after he got embroiled in the scandal, Ian Healy said, “Paine resigned of his own (choice), Cricket Australia said he could stay and the coach wanted him to stay on, (but) he just didn’t want to be a distraction in this circus.”

Steve Smith captained Australia in 34 Tests prior to 2018, in which he guided them to 18 victories, 10 defeats, and six draws. The top-order batter’s average of 61.8 is the second-highest by any batsman to have featured in more than 40 innings. The lack of time before such an important series is likely to work in vice-captain pacer Pat Cummins’ favour to lead Australia in Ashes 2021/22.

Moreover, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne shape as the other options for the leadership role. Steve Smith has already declared his interest in leading the national side again following the end of his ban. He became eligible to lead the side after two years had passed since the ball-tampering incident in South Africa.

Pat Cummins Frontrunner To Replace Tim Paine

Australia could be looking at pace bowler Pat Cummins as the man to replace Tim Paine, with Steve Smith likely to be his deputy, but a decision on who will lead the side in the Ashes, beginning December 8, has not been taken so far.

Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Australia’s Pat Cummins celebrates during a match against England in the 2019 Ashes, in London. File photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Tim Paine’s captaincy and his wicket-keeping standards have come under severe criticism ever since India thrashed hosts Australia 2-1 in the 4 match Test series Down Under. Tim Paine has led his country to 11 wins, four draws, and eight defeats. Under Tim Paine’s leadership, Australia had retained the Ashes and won 11 of 23 matches but had lost two successive home Test series to India.

Australia Test skipper Tim Paine (Photo | AP)
Australia Test skipper Tim Paine (Photo | AP)
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Tim Paine’s Co-Worker Had Demanded An Apology And $40,000 For Her Legal Cost In 2008 After Contacting CA

Tim Paine-the 36-year-old’s career is in the shambles after the ‘sexting scandal’ with a co-worker back in 2017 surfaced recently. In the aftermath of the incident, Tim Paine stepped down as the skipper of the Australian Test team after serving them since March 2018. In another development surrounding the matter, it’s learned that the female staffer demanded an apology and $40,000 for her legal costs.

If reports are to be believed, she contacted Cricket Australia in 2018 before putting forth her demands of apology and legal costs. An intermediary between CA and the woman confirmed the same.

Australia Captain Tim Paine has stepped down from the role (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)
Australia captain Tim Paine has stepped down from the role (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)

Tim Paine Scandal: Female Staffer Demanded An Apology And $40,000 For Her Legal Costs

However, the woman “let the matter go” at a time when Australian cricket was reeling from the incident of the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town.

“I indicated that it was her intention to keep the matter private and that she was seeking an apology from Cricket Tasmania and her legal fees reimbursed,” Sean Mulcahy, who was contacted by the staffer’s then lawyer,said.

“I told her that given the impending Ashes series, the severe fallout from the South Africa incident and subsequent sacking of then captain Steve Smith, that she could possibly command a large fee for her story. Her ultimate decision was to let the matter go and move on,” he said.

Cricket Australia
Cricket Australia

Sean Mulcahy mentioned that the woman never wished for the incident to go public and reckoned that she didn’t reveal the story.

“It was always my understanding that she never wanted this matter to become public. She turned down the possibility of a big pay day to tell the story, yet she chose to stay quiet. I don’t believe she is the source of this story now being made public,” he mentioned.

“I thought the issue was dealt with, but it always popped up around a big series, or at the start of the cricket season,” he added.

Tim Paine got tangled into a controversy after ‘graphic sexual comments’, and ‘unsolicited’ pictures of his genitals during her conversation with the woman surfaced.

Tim Paine Apologized For His Actions And Stepped Down As Skipper

On Friday, he apologized for his actions and thanked his wife and family for their support. Although he has stepped down as the captain, he has made himself available for selection for the upcoming Ashes, starting December.

Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au

Tim Paine’s captaincy and his wicket-keeping standards have come under severe criticism ever since India thrashed hosts Australia 2-1 in the 4 match Test series Down Under. Tim Paine has led his country to 11 wins, four draws, and eight defeats. Under Tim Paine’s leadership, Australia had retained the Ashes and won 11 of 23 matches but had lost two successive home Test series to India.

The lack of time before such an important series is likely to work in vice-captain pacer Pat Cummins’ favour to lead Australia in Ases 2021/22. Former skipper Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, shape as the other options. Steve Smith has already declared his interest in leading the national side again following the end of his ban. He became eligible to lead the side after two years had passed since the ball-tampering incident in South Africa.

The incident later went on to be labeled as the ‘Sandpaper Gate’ and is considered one of the darkest moments in Australian cricket history. Cricket Australia took some bold calls as they first removed the captain and vice-captain of the side. Later, CA handed a one-year ban to both Steve Smith and David Warner, while Cameron Bancroft was given a nine-month suspension. Australia coach Darren Lehmann also resigned after the episode.

Australia Captain Tim Paine has stepped down from the role (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)
Australia Captain Tim Paine has stepped down from the role (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)
/

Tim Paine Captaining Despite Lewd Text Scandal The Wrong Call: Cricket Australia Chairman Richard Freudenstein

According to Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein, Tim Paine should not have remained as Test captain amid his sexting investigation in 2018. Tim Paine resigned as Test skipper on Friday after it emerged. He sent lewd text messages to a female colleague, which Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania investigated before he was cleared of breaching the sport’s code of conduct.

Fronting a press conference on Saturday, Richard Freudenstein admitted it had been the wrong call to allow Tim Paine to remain as skipper and not make the investigation result in public when it was resolved.

Australia Test skipper Tim Paine (Photo | AP)
Australia Test skipper Tim Paine (Photo | AP)

Tim Paine Captaincy The Wrong Call: Cricket Australia Chairman Richard Freudenstein

After Tim Paine’s shock resignation, Pat Cummins is favoured to become the first fast bowler to assume the full-time captaincy of Australia’s Test team. Previous skipper Tim Paine’s bombshell of sexting just 20 days before the Ashes 2021/22 has prompted a rushed search for a new leader matched only by his own appointment three years ago.

“While I cannot speak about the original decision-making in 2018, what I can say is that faced with the same circumstances, and with the benefit of all relevant information about this matter, Cricket Australia would not make the same decisions today,” he said.

Cricket Australia’s interim chair, Richard Freudenstein.
Cricket Australia’s interim chair, Richard Freudenstein. CREDIT: DANIEL MUNOZ

 

“I acknowledge that the decision clearly sent the wrong message to the sport, to the community, and to Tim – that this kind of behaviour is acceptable and without serious consequences. The role of Australia captain must be held to the highest standards.”

Richard Freudenstein said it would be up to selectors on whether Tim Paine would take to the field for the first Ashes Test, starting December 8, with the board “comfortable” with the wicketkeeper being available to be picked. Cricket Australia is expected to confirm Tim Paine’s successor as captain within the coming days, with vice-captain Pat Cummins considered the favourite to take on the role.

Pat Cummins Frontrunner To Lead In Ashes 2021/22

The lack of time before such an important series is likely to work in vice-captain Pat Cummins’ favour. Former skipper Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, shape as the other options. It’s thought Steve Smith’s history with the ball-tampering scandal in 2018 could prove too hard to overcome in a time of crisis, having completed a two-year leadership ban last year.

Travis Head and Pat Cummins previously shared the deputy role, before Pat Cummins took over as sole vice-captain at the start of last summer.  Steve Smith has already declared his interest in leading the national side again following the end of his ban. He became eligible to lead the side after two years had passed since the ball-tampering incident in South Africa.

Pat Cummins appears favourite to take over the vacant Test captaincy with the Ashes series looming. Credit: AAP
Pat Cummins appears favourite to take over the vacant Test captaincy with the Ashes series looming. Credit: AAP

The incident later went on to be labelled as the ‘Sandpaper Gate’ and is considered one of the darkest moments in Australian cricket history. Australia went on to lose the match, and Cricket Australia took some bold calls as they first removed the captain and vice-captain of the side.

Later, the Australian cricket board handed a one-year ban to both Steve Smith and David Warner, while Cameron Bancroft was given a nine-month suspension. Australia coach Darren Lehmann also resigned after the episode. Tim Paine has led his country to 11 wins, four draws, and eight defeats. Under Tim Paine’s leadership, Australia has retained the Ashes and won 11 of 23 matches, but has lost two successive home series to India.

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