Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine is set to miss the start of the upcoming Ashes 2021-22 after opting for an indefinite break from all forms of cricket for the ‘foreseeable future’. Paine’s decision to take a mental health break comes just a week after he stepped down as captain of the Test team following a texting scandal.

The former Australian Test skipper was supposed to play for Tasmania‘s Marsh Cup game on Friday before joining the national Test squad in Brisbane. However, the West Australian withdrew from the match and informed Cricket Tasmania regarding his decision.

“Following discussions over the last 24 hours, Tim Paine has advised Cricket Tasmania that he will be taking a leave of absence from all forms of cricket for the foreseeable future. Cricket Tasmania will continue to support Tim and his family both professionally and personally over the summer,” Cricket Tasmania said in a statement on Friday.

Cricket Australia also made it clear that they will offer full support to Paine, and they respect his decision to have a break at this time to focus on his well being.

“We recognise that this is an incredibly difficult time for Tim and his family and are committed to supporting them. We respect and understand Tim’s decision to have a break at this time to focus on his and his family’s well-being,” said Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer.

Paine’s sudden withdrawal ahead of the Ashes opener at Gabba means a likely Test debut for either Alex Carey or Josh Inglis. Although Hockley didn’t say anything regarding that, mentioning the panel will meet in the coming days to decide the final squad prior to the first Test.

“The National Selection Panel will meet in the coming days to discuss the final squad ahead of the first Ashes Test,” Hockley added.

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