SYDNEY (AFP) - Former Australia Test captain Tim Paine retired from cricket with little fanfare on Friday, bowing out after playing an inter-state match in Tasmania.
Paine led Australia between 2018 and 2021 after Steve Smith was stripped of the captaincy in the wake of the "Sandpaper-gate" ball-tampering incident against South Africa.
He skippered the team in 23 Tests -- winning 11, losing eight and drawing four -- and was credited with helping rebuild Australian cricket's reputation. Paine was forced to stand down after it was revealed he had sent lewd messages to a female colleague in 2017.
As the scandal took its toll, he stepped away from cricket for the "foreseeable future", returning to the game almost a year later in October 2022. The wicketkeeper-batsman, 38, played his final first-class game for state side Tasmania in a domestic fixture against Queensland on Friday, walking off through a guard of honour formed by players.
"An inspiring captain, one of our finest glovesman and a legend of Tasmanian and Australian cricket," the Tasmanian Tigers said in a statement. "Congratulations Tim Paine on a truly wonderful career."
Paine played 35 Tests for Australia, with a top score of 92 and an average of 32.63. He also played 35 ODIs. Australia regained the Ashes in England in 2019 under Paine's leadership, in what was otherwise a turbulent period for the Test side.
Current Test skipper Pat Cummins took over from Paine in November 2021, describing him at the time as a "well-loved and respected figure of our team".