OPINION

Scandal raises serious questions for Paine, Cricket Australia

ANSWERS: Howard Kotton says that Tim Paine and Cricket Australia still have more questions to answer. Photo: Peter Mundy/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ANSWERS: Howard Kotton says that Tim Paine and Cricket Australia still have more questions to answer. Photo: Peter Mundy/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tim Paine's emotional resignation as Australian Test captain was sad and painful to watch and it raised serious questions about Cricket Australia and its processes.

CA became aware of Paine's sexually-charged text message exchange in 2017 with a former Cricket Tasmania colleague three months after he was appointed Test skipper in 2018 in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

Paine was subsequently cleared in investigations by the CA Integrity Unit and CT's human resources department, with both probes finding he had not breached CA's code of conduct.

Yet more than three years after his exchange with the woman was discovered, it was deemed such a heinous crime that he was forced to relinquish the captaincy once the text messages were revealed publicly.

What does it say about the code of conduct? In dire need of review at first glance.

In its official statement, CA said it "did not condone this type of language or behaviour".

So, what changed in three years? It appears the blame game has shifted to the investigative process conducted by CA and CT that supposedly did not reveal the whole story.

Many other questions require answers from CA and Paine in the coming days and weeks, but for now, the focus must be on retaining the Ashes.

The memorable 2019 Ashes series was a career highlight for Paine and he has done a marvellous job as captain in difficult circumstances.

But the Tasmanian wicketkeeper, who turns 37 on the opening day of the first Test at the Gabba, is lacking match fitness after having neck surgery in September and this scandal would have taken a severe mental toll.

Banning skinfold tests a joke

Everyone has a Martin Luther King Jr. moment in their lives - and mine has been recurring for more than half a century.

My dream started in the schoolyards and ovals of my youth, as I endlessly kicked an oval ball around, hopeful of making it in the big league.

Alas, it was not to be ... but maybe not. Even approaching 63, bespectacled, slightly overweight and with much less hair on my head, I don't know what my skinfolds would be, but that won't matter for prospects in this week's NAB AFL Draft after the League's move to ban skinfold testing for fear of causing psychological distress and body image issues.

It is a ridiculous decision, one that has drawn widespread criticism.

As former Port Adelaide midfielder and media commentator Kane Cornes noted, these young men are supposed to be elite athletes and "not the average guy off the street".

OK, Kane, I was far from average in my younger days, slightly timid but skilful nonetheless.

The dream was alive until I looked at myself in the mirror. I didn't have to worry about the skinfold tests, but as my wife constantly tells me, father time is catching up with me.

So, my only hits will continue to be on the keyboard - it was a mere pipedream.

Greenwood switch embarrassing for Suns

All-Australian Touk Miller's decision last week to make a long-term commitment to the Gold Coast provided brief respite for a club that continues to be the AFL's problem child.

Miller's announcement came a day after the Suns were trying to explain the circumstances that led to big-bodied inside midfielder Hugh Greenwood's stunning switch to North Melbourne.

The Suns were on the defensive, with CEO Mark Evans admitting the Kangaroos' offer was unexpected and football manager Wayne Campbell making the laughable claim that North had exploited a loophole.

But, in reality, it was an embarrassing list management blunder from Gold Coast by allowing the delisted free agent to be picked up by another club.

This decision threatens to backfire on the Suns in a similar way to their call to move on midfielder Jarryd Lyons, who has been a driving force in Brisbane's resurgence in the past three seasons.

Greenwood's departure is a setback for beleaguered coach Stuart Dew, who enters the final year of his contract with an expectation to be contending for finals in 2022.

Alcaraz's spectacular finish to 2021

Carlos Alcaraz's impressive win in the Next Gen ATP Finals has confirmed his rising status in men's tennis.

Alcaraz's power and footwork are distinctive features of his game and they were on display in Milan last week.

STAR POWER: Carlos Alcaraz's win in the Next Gen ATP finals has highlighted his rising star status. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

STAR POWER: Carlos Alcaraz's win in the Next Gen ATP finals has highlighted his rising star status. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

The Spaniard, 18, dropped only one set for the tournament and held serve in 43 of his 45 service games over his five matches, defeating American Sebastian Korda in straight sets in the final.

Alcaraz, who started this year ranked No. 141, completed a spectacular rise to No. 32, with a 32-17 record in 2021.

He is the youngest player to win that many matches on tour since Andrei Medvedev went 32-11 in 1992.

Alcaraz won his first ATP title in July, defeating veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet in straight sets at the Croatia Open.

At the US Open in September, he became the youngest player in the open era to reach the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows, highlighted by a stunning third-round victory over third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Alcaraz believes a major reason behind his dramatic improvement was competing in matches against fellow countryman Rafael Nadal and dual ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev.

Has Howard got it right? Email: howardkotton11@gmail.com; Twitter: @hpkotton59