Cricket: Tim Paine returns as Tasmanian Tigers manager says he’s ‘up for pick’ at state level

Tim Paine will be playing for a competitive cricket match for the first time since his sensational retirement as Australia’s Test captain late last year.

In a bombastic moment on the eve of last summer’s Home Ashes series, Paine was forced to leave the game after it was revealed he had sent sexually explicit text messages to a former Cricket Tasmania employee in 2017.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Tim Paine takes permanent leave.

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Pat Cummins has since taken over as Test captain, while Paine has taken time off from the game to look after his mental health following the scandal.

Now Paine returns to the game for the first time in almost 12 months and will play for the Cricket Tasmania Premier League, the University of Tasmania.

Varsity coach Damien Wright confirmed the news on Thursday afternoon that the 37-year-old will play against New Town on Sunday.

His last game was a Tasmanian 2nd XI game against a South Australian 2nd XI in Hobart.

Despite being dropped from Cricket Tasmania’s contract list for the upcoming summer, Paine has been continuously training with the State team for the final month and a half leading up to the Sheffield Shield season.

Earlier this week, Tasmania manager Jeff Vaughan told ESPNcricinfo that Paine would be considered for selection despite a break in contract.

Tim Paine returns to cricket. Recognition: Getty

“He came and spoke to the CEO and I one day and said he’d like to come back and would certainly play cricket for the university,” Vaughan said.

“So he’s been training with us for most of the sessions over the past five or six weeks.

“Physically he’s fine, emotionally he’s fine. I’m sure everyone would agree that we trust his wicketkeeping skills, his leadership skills, so he’s available for selection.

“Like any of our contract players and like any of our players in Tasmanian premier cricket, he is a choice and one we will certainly be talking about.”

Tim Paine captained Australia in 23 Tests. Recognition: Daniel Pockett – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Imag

Tim Paine is taking permanent leave.

Tim Paine is taking permanent leave.

Paine led Australia in 23 of their 35 Tests after rising to the leadership role in controversial circumstances.

The veteran gloveman had only just transitioned back to the Test team after a few years’ absence but fell into the captaincy when former skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were handed a 12-month ban for their roles on the team infamous ball manipulation saga in Cape Town in 2018.

In 2019, Paine became the first Australian captain to keep the Ashes on English soil since Steve Waugh did so in 2001.

Tim Paine resigns as captain.

Tim Paine resigns as captain. Cricket: Tim Paine returns as Tasmanian Tigers manager says he’s ‘up for pick’ at state level

James Brien

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