Australian cricket captain Tim Paine stepped down earlier today, less than three weeks before the start of The Ashes series against England.

He resigned for sending inappropriate text messages to a female co-worker, although an investigation by governing body Cricket Australia exonerated him of any breach of its code of conduct.

The governing body has accepted the resignation, a decision Paine said he made as he was aware the investigation by the body’s integrity unit would be made public.

“I do not want this to become an unwelcome disruption to the team ahead of what is a huge Ashes Series. I have loved my role as captain of the Australian cricket team and it’s been the greatest privilege of my sporting life to lead the Australian men’s test team,” says Paine.

Paine added that the investigation and one by Cricket Tasmania HR at the same time had found no breach of conduct.