Tim Paine abruptly quit as Australia's Test captain ahead of the Ashes series against England over a series of lewd text messages with a female colleague in 2017 that he had learnt were about to be made public. However, he said Australian coach Justin Langer wanted him to remain as Test skipper, as he spoke of his "distress" and "embarrassment" over a sexting scandal that cost him his job. The Tasmanian insisted it was his decision to resign and he wasn't pushed.
"It was mine and mine alone," he told the Melbourne Herald Sun in an interview.
"It was hard, but I know it's the right thing to do. I feel completely gutted, but it's all my doing, and I know resigning is the right call."
Paine said plenty of people wanted me to stay on, including Langer. "JL (Justin Langer) told me he's devastated. He was pretty firm that he wanted me to continue as captain, and again, once I explained to him the reasons that I thought resigning was the best thing to do, he was with me all the way.
"I've got messages from all my teammates saying they've got my back, and that we all make mistakes, and we move on," he added, insisting none of them had prior knowledge of the incident.
The series of sexually graphic exchanges were investigated in 2018 but Paine was cleared by Cricket Tasmania and CA's integrity unit of breaching their code of conduct. However, current CA chairman Richard Freudenstein, who was elected to the board in 2019, on Saturday admitted it was the wrong call and said Paine should have been axed at the time.
Paine, who is married with children, said the text message exchanges began as normal communications with a Cricket Tasmania colleague "but then it became a flirtatious exchange that should never have".
Asked why he took it to the next level, he replied: "Maybe it's as simple as stupidity? Or an inflated ego? Or feeling needed or wanted, being flattering. Or that it was dangerous or risque? I don't know, I'm not sure. But I know I wish I hadn't, and it'll be a life of regret that I did."
He denied any physical relationship with the woman. Paine admitted he always feared that the media would break the story and it had been a stressful time reliving the incident after he and wife Bonnie had worked through their issues.
"I feel terrible, to be honest. Although Bonnie and I have both known about all this for three years, to have it played out like this is really distressing, and upsetting, and I'm really embarrassed. I feel sick for Bonnie, and for my family more than anything else."