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Australian cricketers in Test were shocked to learn of Tim Paine’s resignation from the harbor master’s office over an SMS scandal, but are fully behind him to continue as wicket keeper for the Ashes, said drummer Marcus Harris.

Opener Harris said players only learned of Paine’s decision half an hour before it was released to the public last Friday to reveal he had been investigated into text messages sent to a Cricket Tasmania staff member four years ago.

“People were obviously a little shocked, but we have a lot of good leaders around our group,” Harris said Wednesday. “So it’s not ideal, but someone will have to step in and take the lead.

“Painey will always be there and can always show leadership in different ways, but we can’t wait to get into the camp and keep going. “

Paine, who played a domestic game in Tasmania this week with other Test players on the Gold Coast, is the only specialist wicket keeper for Australia’s 15 Ashes squad.

However, Coaching Chairman George Bailey has confirmed he is not stranded for the first test starting in Brisbane on December 8 as he races to prove he is fit after neck surgery.

Harris said Paine was very popular among the group of players, had done a “really good job” under difficult circumstances over the past few years and deserved to keep his place on the side.

“I think you could still argue that he is still the best henchman in the country and that he played a few more important innings last summer against India,” he said. “I know he has all the support from the players and like I said everything else depends on the people above me.”

Paine’s resignation and Cricket Australia’s handling of the scandal sparked recriminations, with Cricket Tasmania accusing the national body of draining the wicket keeper after clearing him of any wrongdoing in 2018.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Wednesday that players were also unhappy with Cricket Australia’s treatment of Paine, but Harris said he was not aware of any breakups.

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