Australian Cricketers Association boss Todd Greenberg has declared Tim Paine “must” be available for selection for the first Ashes Test after “paying a significant” price for an issue that was dealt with three years ago.
Greenberg said he was disappointed with new Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein declaring the board may have handled the investigation into Paine’s messy sexting scandal from 2017 differently and “would not make the same decisions today”.
Paine was cleared of misconduct by a CA investigation that Greenberg said the former Test captain co-operated with fully and was “very forthcoming” about the poor judgment he showed.
Greenberg, who dealt with several similar incidents of player misconduct while in charge of the NRL, said he was “surprised” by Freudenstein’s comments.
“I think there’s a level of frustration certainly among the players and a lot of people. All of us felt a sense of sadness last week,” he said.
“Having dealt with number of integrity issues the rear-view mirror is much clearer than the windscreen. It doesn’t serve anyone well to judge them through the prism of hindsight.
“It is difficult for those people who weren’t involved to make that level of judgment.”
— Australian Cricketers’ Association (@ACA_Players) November 19, 2021
While conceding Paine made an “enormous mistake”, Greenberg said he struggled to understand why CA’s stance was any different now from when he was cleared of breaching any code of conduct.
“Not a lot has changed in the past four years other than the matter has become public,” he told SEN.
“Tim went through the investigation, he was very forthcoming, he co-operated and in the words of Cricket Tasmania “the interaction was consensual, private, between two adults” and not a breach of the code of conduct.
“As far as I am aware, nothing has changed. That’s made it hard to understand for a lot of people.
“He pays a very significant price. Tim made an enormous mistake, but who of us have not made mistakes yourself? There’s no human being I know who will be perfect and not make mistakes.”
— John Hunt (@JohnHunt1992) November 21, 2021
Greenberg said it was folly to try to find a captain who was “perfect” despite the esteem that comes with the position.
“I understand the expectations of the community, but we are not appointing the Archbishop of Canterbury,” he said.
“If our expectations are the captain will be perfect, we’ll be in all sorts of trouble.
“He showed a complete lack of judgment, but what was told to him 3½ years ago was that the matter was a private one. That was the view of the time, and that’s the view today.”
Greenberg declared Paine should remain available to keep his place in the Test team.
“We think he must be available for selection, then ultimately that’s an issue for the selectors,” Greenberg said.
”That was made clear to him and to us by Cricket Australia last week. I hope he is picked and he plays an incredibly strong Ashes series.”