Nov 25, 2021: Spinner Nathan Lyon said on Thursday that the Australian bowlers wanted Tim Paine behind the stumps in the first Ashes Test against England because he was “the best keeper in the world”.
Paine resigned as Test captain last week after evidence of a text message scandal emerged, but he wants to continue playing. The selectors will have to decide whether to cut him loose and start anew or to show loyalty in the field and support him in the squad for the opening match in Brisbane on December 8.
Opener Marcus Harris said on Wednesday that Paine had the backing of the Australian squad and Lyons – who is one wicket away from claiming 400 Test wickets – reiterated that.
“The selectors have always said that they will choose the best available XI and in my opinion, Tim Paine is the best keeper in the world,” he said. “I know I want him. Every bowler’s relationship with (him) is extraordinary and Tim Paine is a lovable guy and a very respectable man in the change room.”
Lyon added that he could 100 per cent guarantee that Paine has the full support of the Australian Change Room.
“Tim has made a mistake. He owns it. For me, that shows great courage, to be honest.”
Paine resigned this month after a 2017 string of obscene text messages with a female colleague emerged.
Paine was interrogated at the time and cleared of any breach of the Code of Conduct for Cricket, but said he was stepping down as captain because his actions “do not meet the standards of an Australian cricket captian.”
His replacement is yet to be announced, with Pat Cummins and Steve Smith the front contenders.
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