Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said that Tim Paine's resignation from the captaincy due to a sexting scandal will "inevitably" be a distraction during the five-Test Ashes series against England.
Paine stood down from the role last Friday (Nov 19) after media revelations that he had been investigated and cleared over sexually explicit text messages sent to a female former colleague at Cricket Tasmania in 2017.
"I think it inevitably will (be a distraction). He's made a huge call for himself, for Australian cricket and for the betterment of the Australian cricket team. But it's not going to go away," Ponting told Cricket.com.au.
"As much as we would all love to see it go away, and there comes a point where it's never talked about, it's inevitable that it's going to be there.
"Unfortunately for Tim, he's going to get asked about it everywhere he goes ... It will blow over and hopefully it passes in enough time to have some really good, clear headspace going into Brisbane (for the first Test)."
The Ashes begins on Dec 8 at the Gabba.
Ponting said that Alex Carey could replace Paine as wicketkeeper if the 36-year-old is dropped, but backed Josh Inglis, who has yet to make his international debut, to be the long-term successor behind the stumps.
"I'm on record saying I love Inglis - I think he's going to be a really good cricketer for Australia for a long time in whatever format they pick him in first, whether its T20s, one-dayers or Test cricket," added Ponting.