Former Australia captain Tim Paine is set to return to elite-level cricket on Thursday for the first time since details of historical, sexually explicit text messages to a female colleague were made public.
The 37-year-old wicketkeeper has been named in the Tasmania squad to face Queensland in the Sheffield Shield.
He stood down as Australia captain last November shortly before the Ashes.
After a leave of absence, he returned to training in August.
Paine had been due to lead Australia in last winter’s series against England but stood down with details of the text messages set to emerge.
He sent messages to a co-worker at Cricket Tasmania in November 2017, leading to a misconduct investigation after she made allegations against him in 2018.
Paine said he was “exonerated”, with Cricket Australia (CA) clearing him of any breach of its code of conduct at the time and Cricket Tasmania deciding “no further action was required or appropriate”.
However, after learning the texts were set to be revealed publicly, Paine stepped down in a tearful news conference in Hobart, saying his actions did not meet the “standard of an Australian cricket captain, or the wider community”.
Paine, whose last first-class match was in April 2021, makes his return for Tasmania with captain and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade unavailable because of international commitments.
He has been training as an uncontracted player with the team, and made a return in lower-level cricket last weekend with his club side.
“We have absolute faith and trust in Tim and his preparation,” said Tasmania coach Jeff Vaughan.
“Physically he is probably in the greatest spot of his physical career, emotionally he is sound. He has been training really well with us the last two months. We have got full faith in his wicketkeeping skillset so he has ticked all of the boxes.”