Australia cricket hero Ricky Ponting addresses Tim Paine sexting scandal

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Australia legend Ricky Ponting has spoken out on the Tim Paine affair

Australia legend Ricky Ponting has spoken out on the Tim Paine saga (Pictures: Getty)

Ricky Ponting admits Tim Paine’s shock resignation could be a painful distraction for Australia ahead of the Ashes and has named two possible replacements for the wicketkeeper.

Paine, 36, insisted he did not want his captaincy resignation in the wake of a sexting scandal to be an ‘unwelcome disruption’ for the team ahead of their five-Test series against rivals England.

But former captain Ponting fears the saga will ‘bubble along’ throughout the series as Australia look to retain the Ashes and secure another home victory over England.

‘I think inevitably it will [be a distraction],’ Ponting told cricket.com.au. ‘Yes, he’s made a huge call for himself, for Australian cricket and for the betterment of the Australian cricket team. But it’s not going to go away.

‘We’re only a few weeks out from the first Test – it will bubble along. As much as we would all love to see it go away and there comes a point where it’s never talked about, it’s inevitable that it’s going to be there.

‘If he plays in Brisbane (for the first Test), the rest of the group and everyone needs to move on and do the best they can to forget about it and knuckle down.

‘Unfortunately for Tim he’s going to get asked about it everywhere he goes. Whenever you make mistakes and you’ve got to front up in front of the cricket-loving public, you have some doubts in the back of your mind for a period of time.’

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Ponting believes Alex Carey could line up for Australia against England

Ponting believes Alex Carey could line up for Australia against England (Picture: Getty)

While Paine’s reign as Australia captain is over, it remains to be seen whether he will retain his place in the Ashes squad or be dropped altogether.

Ponting believes Alex Carey is the ‘obvious’ candidate to replace Paine if he does not feature against England but has named Josh Inglis as the ‘long-term’ successor behind the stumps.

‘If Paine plays this series and he finishes at the end of the series, they might look at a younger guy,’ the Australia legend added.

‘If he’s not picked for Brisbane they might think about someone who’s a bit more experienced, being an Ashes series.

Former Australia captain Ponting is also a fan of Josh Inglis (Picture: Getty)

‘If Paine doesn’t play in Brisbane the obvious one is Alex Carey. If Paine does the play the Ashes series, they might look at someone like Inglis post this summer.

‘I’m on record saying I love Inglis – I think he’s going to be a really good cricketer for Australia for a long time in whatever format they pick him in first, whether its T20s, one-dayers or Test cricket.

‘Speaking to Brad Haddin and even ‘Painey’ – they really rate his keeping, they talk really highly of it.

‘He could definitely be a long term, not just an international player, (but also) a Test player.’

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