Tim Paine was supposed to be our cleanskin captain.
The voice of reason we needed. The leader Australian cricket was crying out for in the wake of a damaging ball-tampering scandal in South Africa which saw a captain and his off-sider cast aside as pariahs.
So convinced were Cricket Australia officials that Paine was the only man for the job, they hauled him into the role despite the fact he had flirted with retirement just months prior.
But Paine has had a skeleton in his closet and Cricket Australia have known about it.
The governing body appointed the wicketkeeper as the national team captain when Steve Smith and David Warner received 12-month bans from the game for their part in the infamous Sandpapergate scandal.
Now officials are rushing to appoint a new captain 18 days from the opening Test of the Ashes series against England.
Tearful wicketkeeper Paine on Friday stood down as captain of the Test team after details emerged of a 2017 exchange of photos and messages with a female colleague. He was exonerated.
Cricket Tasmania, and conceivably Cricket Australia, were made aware of the incident in mid-2018. Paine had been appointed captain in late March. Yet even after being made aware, CA kept the matter quiet. They couldn't afford this to blow up in their faces. So Paine remained the choirboy.
"At the time, the exchange was the subject of a thorough CA Integrity Unit investigation, throughout which I fully participated in and openly participated in," Paine said.
"That investigation and a Cricket Tasmania HR investigation at the same time found that there had been no breach of the Cricket Australia code of conduct.
"Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time, and still do today. I spoke to my wife and family at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support."
The timing is perfect for the Barmy Army and a resurgent England team.
They didn't need to fire the first shot, because Paine and Cricket Australia aimed the gun at their own feet.
The England cricket team will emerge from hotel quarantine on the Gold Coast on Saturday. Captain Joe Root and talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes have been on Australian shores for two weeks but we have barely heard a whisper from them.
Instead, they have been treated to an Australian implosion weeks out from the opening Ashes Test. The Barmy Army will be a shadow of its usual self this summer but it will have no shortage of ammunition.
Because while Australia lost its snarl, it was supposed to win respect. It was.
They say in jest the Australian cricket captain has a more important job in this country than the Prime Minister. The statement has perhaps never rung more true than it did when we turned to Paine to lead our team.
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Cricket Australia was in damage control, desperately searching for a captain to help the national side lose its attack dog instinct but at least retain some bite.
The 36-year-old fronted the media in Hobart on Friday and did not answer questions but said his actions "do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain".
Just as those of Smith before him, the overblown reaction to the ball-tampering saga aside. Smith has returned to the side and reclaimed his mantle as world cricket's premier batter but he continues to pay the price as long as someone else is calling heads or tails at the toss.
It seems the man charged with pulling on a baggy green cap and leading his teammates onto a cricket field is held to a higher account than Australia's leading politicians.
Australia's political powerbrokers have been allowed to move back into high-ranking roles despite a swathe of controversies.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was kicked from his role after an extramarital affair - and love child - came to light in 2018. His penance was hiatus from Australia's second in charge posting exceeding three years, before he was re-elected to the position in June.
Alan Tudge was also embroiled in another extramarital scandal in the government, with the then-human services minister having relations with a female staffer.
Historic sexual assault allegations were made against former attorney-general Christian Porter, which he has categorically denied. NSW police stated it had "insufficient admissible evidence" to investigate.
He was removed from his position, and took on a portfolio on the front bench, until he resigned from cabinet in September due to controversy surrounding anonymous donors funding his defamation case against the ABC.
All three remain in parliament.
Australian cricket captains, it seems, fall harder than politicians. Sure, Smith is back now doing what he does best. But it took a long time for him to rebuild trust and respect, and some will say he still hasn't earned the right to return to the role.
Paine's emotional apology evoked memories of Smith returning to Sydney Airport after the Cape Town incident, flanked by his dad as he broke down and apologised to a nation for his actions.
The path forward for Paine is unclear. He's 36. If he wasn't captain, he may not have been in the Test team at all. Or so some have suggested.
He was our cleanskin captain for three years. Australia invested in what he was selling. But the question now is: did Paine and Cricket Australia sell us a lie?
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