Melbourne, Dec 09:Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley would love to see Tim Paine return to the Test side, having defended his organisation’s handling of the former skipper’s demotion. Paine tearfully resigned as captain, three weeks out from the men’s Ashes. He initially planned to play this week’s series opener in Brisbane then opted to take a mental-health break, prompting speculation he will never play for Australia again. The catalyst for Paine’s sudden exit was a texting message scandal, which occurred in 2017 and involved a Cricket Tasmania staffer. CA was made aware of the incident in 2018 but backed Paine to continue playing and captaining Australia at that juncture, desperate to restore the team’s image after the Cape Town cheating crisis. Coach Justin Langer has offered public and private support to Paine, flying to Hobart after being released from quarantine and keeping the door open for his “really close” friend to don the baggy green again.Hockley is likewise upbeat Paine, who was expected to retire at the end of this summer before news broke of his indiscretion, will return to the Test XI. “Would love to see him play again, for both his state and for Australia,” Hockley told SEN. “We want to see him back out there, playing and performing, as quickly as possible.” The Sheffield Shield hiatus means Paine would be recalled on limited evidence, unless selectors want him to be part of a planned tour of Pakistan in March. The fifth Test is expected to be staged at Paine’s home ground, although Hockley shed little light on whether Hobart will win that bidding war.