Developer Big Ant has delayed Cricket 22 to swap out one of the game's cover stars, following a sex scandal involving the athlete.
As reported by Kotaku, the sports game developer was set to include Australian Cricketer Tim Paine on the cover of this year's cricketing title but has taken the decision to remove his image following the emergence of a sex scandal, after the star was revealed to have sent "lewd messages" and a picture of his genitals to a former female colleague.
Big Ant posted a statement to Twitter earlier this week confirming that it was delaying the game from November 25 to December 2. "Unfortunately, factors beyond our control have meant that we need to update the game’s cover art, other visuals, and team lists," the studio confirmed on Twitter before confirming the game's new release date.
— Big Ant Studios (@BigAntStudios) November 22, 2021
The incident between Paine and his former female colleague is reported to have taken place back in 2017. Following an investigation in 2018, Paine was cleared of wrongdoing by cricketing authority Cricket Tasmania, which determined that the incident involving the cricketer and his colleague had been "consensual". However, after it emerged that the texts were due to be revealed publicly, Paine stepped down as captain of the Australian men's cricket team last week.
Per the BBC, Paine subsequently said, "Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time and still do today." Despite Paine no longer captaining the side, he is set to play in the team's upcoming Ashes test series against England in December.
Following the announcement of the game's delay, Big Ant has confirmed that fellow Australian Cricket star Pat Cummins will replace Paine on the cover. Cummins will be joined alongside Australian woman's team captain Meg Lanning, who was already set for the cover.
For more on Cricket 22, make sure to check out this article detailing the different tournaments coming to the series this time around.
To ensure the highly anticipated #Cricket22 game gets to fans by 2nd December, Big Ant Studios are proud to announce that Pat Cummins, vice-captain of the Australian men’s cricket team, will be on the Cricket 22 digital cover alongside Australian women’s team captain Meg Lanning. pic.twitter.com/NCCcvqNC5r
— Big Ant Studios (@BigAntStudios) November 23, 2021
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.