The presence of Tim Paine won’t be a distraction for Australia ahead of the Ashes, insisted veteran spinner Nathan Lyon, who went on to term the former Test skipper the “best gloveman in the world”. Paine, who relinquished captaincy last week following a sexting scandal, has the “100 per cent” support of the Australian team, said Lyon.
Lyon, who needs one more to reach the landmark of 400 Test wickets, said: “In my eyes Tim is the best gloveman in the country, in the world,” Lyon said on Thursday (November 25). “I can 100 per cent guarantee he has the full support of the Australian changeroom. I don’t see him as a distraction at all. Come the Gabba Test match and throughout the whole series, we are professional sportspeople and we will go out and do our job. Tim made a mistake, he’s owned it, for me that shows great courage to be honest. Tim has got my full support. I am looking forward to catching up as soon as we get out of quarantine.
“The selectors said they were going to pick the best available XI and in my eyes Tim Paine is the best keeper in the world. I want him. This is very selfish, from a bowler’s point of view, I want the best gloveman behind the stumps.
“Everyone will say you look at the movement around catching the ball, but I go off the sound of the ball hitting the gloves. If you actually listed to the sound it makes, that’s when you can tell someone is a decent keeper. I noticed that with Brad Haddin, but Tim Paine, it’s music to my ears. I’m speaking on behalf of every bowler and we want the best keeper and I can’t say it any more times, Tim is the best keeper in the world,” said Lyon.
Paine, returning from a neck surgery, is currently part of the Tasmania second XI match against South Australia and will also feature in Tasmania’s One-Day Cup game against Western Australia in his bid to prove his fitness.
Cricket Australia, meanwhile, are likely to announce Pat Cummins as the captain of the Test team and Steve Smith his deputy, with reports suggesting that they held interviews with both players a couple of days back.
Lyon said having a bowler as captain would be exciting. “You have a bowler’s mindset and a batter’s mindset rather than two batters; they can come together and really come up with some good guidance. I am excited by the fact we are potentially going to have a bowler as captain.
“Playing under Pat at New South Wales cricket in the one-day set up last year, I think he did a really good job, to be honest with you. I know it’s going to be a different kettle of fish, but he’s got a lot of senior players around him to support Pat if he does get the nod.
“But then you look at Steve Smith, I think Smithy is up there with the best batters in the world. He’s got a great cricket mind and I’ve got no dramas with both of them putting their hand up for the captaincy, to be honest with you,” said Lyon.