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Tim Paine bids a quiet farewell to first-class cricket

Former Australia captain calls time on his first-class career following Tasmania's draw with Queensland in the final Sheffield Shield round of the season

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Tim Paine gets a guard of honour as he retires from first-class cricket, Tasmania vs Queensland, Sheffield Shield, Hobart, March 17, 2023

Tim Paine gets a guard of honour as he retires from first-class cricket  •  Getty Images

Former Australia captain Tim Paine has bid a quiet farewell from first-class cricket at the conclusion of Tasmania's draw with Queensland in the final Sheffield Shield round of the season, drawing to a close a rollercoaster 18-year career.
Paine, 38, had not made any public announcement that he was playing his final match but had made it known to the Tasmania team that the clash against Queensland would be his last.
Following the early conclusion to the match, after both captains agreed to end it after just 62 overs of the final day with a result not possible, Paine was given a guard of honour as he left Bellerive Oval for the final time.
He did not do a press conference after play. It was instead left to Tasmania captain Jordan Silk to confirm that Paine was ending his first-class career.
"He's been a phenomenal player," Silk said. "I think it's around 22 years of professional cricket. It's an incredible effort to have the longevity that he's had. He's certainly going to be missed behind the stumps. I certainly won't play, I'm sure a lot of guys who are playing now will say that there will never be another keeper as good as Tim Paine in Australia. So we've been incredibly blessed down here. And we wish him all the best in whatever he chooses going forward."
Silk was full of praise for Paine given he played this final season without a contract having endured a turbulent time off the field in 2021-22 when he resigned from the Test captaincy.
"Considering his age the level of the standard of keeping and he's still been able to generate has been really incredible," Silk said. "He's always someone that you know is doing the work behind the scenes. I think he sets a great example for work ethic and all that sort of stuff for all of our guys."
Paine's career ends having played 154 first-class matches including 35 Tests and 95 Sheffield Shield appearances for Tasmania. He holds the record for the most Shield dismissals by a Tasmania wicketkeeper in Shield cricket with 296 and finishes 12th all-time on the Shield wicketkeeping dismissals list.
He scored 6490 first-class runs at 29.63 with three centuries including a best 215. He averaged 32.63 in 35 Tests with the bat and made nine half-centuries, but never made a Test century. He completed 157 Test dismissals.
He led Australia admirably post the Sandpaper saga in Cape Town, captaining the Test side in 23 matches between 2018 and 2021 including retaining the Ashes in a drawn away series in England in 2019.
But his Test career ended abruptly in a scandal of a different kind when it was revealed he had sent explicit text messages to a Cricket Tasmania employee in 2017. He was cleared of any wrongdoing by Cricket Tasmania and Cricket Australia at the time but the text messages were published on the eve of the 2021-22 Ashes series and he resigned as Test captain and took a leave of absence from the game.
Paine never played Test cricket again and was dropped off both CA and Tasmania's contract lists in 2022. He wrote a memoir in 2022 where he opened up about his off-field errors but also claimed he was hung out to dry by CA.
But he played six more first-class matches for Tasmania across the 2022-23 season.
He played in two of Tasmania's only three Sheffield Shield triumphs in 2007 and 2013 making 87 in the 2013 decider against Queensland. He missed the 2011 triumph due to injury.
Paine also played 35 ODIs for Australia, captaining five of them on the 2018 tour of England. He made an ODI century and played in Australia's 2009 Champions Trophy triumph. He played in two Australia One-Day domestic titles for Tasmania in 2008 and 2010. He was player of the final in 2010 after making 100 off 118 balls against Victoria at the MCG. He also played 12 T20Is for Australia.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo