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AAP and ESPNcricinfo staff
21-Nov-2021 • Updated on 22-Nov-2021
Former Cricket Australia chairman David Peever has hit out at the current board over the Tim Paine affair, accusing it of abandoning the fallen Test captain.
In an angry statement, Peever accused CA of a knee-jerk reaction and hit back at new chairman Richard Freudenstein's claims the current board would have taken the captaincy off Paine three years ago.
It was under Peever's administration that Paine was cleared of any misconduct following a 2018 integrity unit investigation into lewd messages and a graphic image to Cricket Tasmania colleague.
Peever said it was unfair for Paine to be cleared of misconduct in 2018, only to have a new board say he should have been punished now following Friday's resignation.
"I'm disappointed to see a current chairman publicly criticising decisions of a previous board, several members of whom are still on the board and were part of the 2018 decision," Peever said. "I'm also very disappointed at the way Tim Paine had been treated by Cricket Australia.
"Tim has been an incredible servant of the game and took over the leadership of the national team in the most difficult of circumstances. He has led with distinction for more than three years. He deserves Cricket Australia's loyalty and not to be abandoned at this time."
Freudenstein's comments on Saturday essentially claimed that while the findings of the investigation were still correct, Peever's board should have held Paine to a higher account as captain. But Peever questioned how any decisions could be made if the texts were found to be private, consensual and not an act of misconduct.
"Why have a code of conduct if you are going to make up your own rules as you go?" Peever said. "Cricket Australia's decision seems knee jerk and unfortunately shows double standards.
"This issue has been doing the rounds in cricket circles for some years now. The current chairman has been on the board for two years and it is implausible he didn't know about it. If he and his board felt so strongly about it, why wait until now to act?"
On Sunday, Mark Taylor, the former Australia captain and CA board member, defended the 2018 decision to keep the investigation of the explicit text messages in-house.
Taylor was the first person who was on the board at the time of the decision to speak publicly since Paine's shock resignation as captain on Friday when the messages and investigation came out. He resigned from the board in November 2018 amid the fallout from the ball-tampering scandal.
"A decision was taken by the integrity unit and supported by the board to keep this in-house," Taylor told Nine's Sports Sunday. "There's obviously been a lot of conjecture about the rights and wrongs of that.
"That decision was made not just on what is best for cricket, but what was best for Tim Paine, Bonnie Paine and also the woman involved."
"Three-and-a-half or four years of hindsight is a wonderful thing. I don't know if he [Freudenstein] has any more information, that the integrity unit had of Cricket Australia in 2018. It's interesting to note that even now, having said that...they didn't stand Tim down. He stood down, he resigned himself."
Freudenstein said he had been told of the closed case - which found Paine had not broken the code of conduct - when he came onto the board two years but had not felt the need to delve back into it.
"Once you have a private matter that has been subject to a full integrity unit investigation, it wouldn't be normal for that to be part of the handover," he said.
"All I can say is the whole current Australian cricket board, including those members that were on the board in 2018, are very clear that if the same circumstances arose today, we would make a different decision."
He added that since 2018 the code of conduct had been amended while additional player education now takes place including specific references to text messages.