Ashes 2017: Australia's Darren Lehmann urges cricketing fraternity to support Steve Smith and Co in face of selection controversy

Australia coach Darren Lehmann defended the squad selection for the Ashes opener on Sunday and urged former players to back the team as they prepare to try and wrest the famous urn back from English hands.

Reuters, November 19, 2017

Sydney: Australia coach Darren Lehmann defended the squad selection for the Ashes opener on Sunday and urged former players to back the team as they prepare to try and wrest the famous urn back from English hands.

Spin-bowling great Shane Warne was among the former players who questioned decision to include wicket-keeper Tim Paine, while the inclusion of veteran batsman Shaun Marsh also raised a few eyebrows.

Speaking in Brisbane, where the series gets underway at the Gabba on Thursday, Lehmann justified the selections and called for the whole country to support the team.

File image of Australia head  coach Darren Lehmann. Reuters

Darren Lehmann added that Shaun Marsh, who earned his eighth Test recall, will do well in the Ashes. Reuters

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion, aren’t they?” he said.

“I’d just like all our players, ex-players, to be really positive about the Australian cricket team. Let’s just get everyone from Australia behind the Australian cricket team and let’s get moving forward.”

Paine, who played the last of his four Tests seven years ago, was the most controversial selection mainly because he does not even keep wickets for his state Tasmania.

”We’ve watched him keep a fair bit,“ Lehmann added. ”He’s a high quality keeper.

“He’s been in good form with the gloves, as he always has been, and he has been very good for us in the T20s.”

Few players are more divisive in Australia than 34-year-old Marsh, who looks likely to fill the number six slot in the batting order on his eighth recall to the Test side.

”He’s in good form, so he’ll do well,“ Lehmann added. ”He’s pretty calm.

“He’s grown up a lot in the last few years and played some important knocks for us. He’s really confident within himself.”

Lehmann said also said Australia would not be distracted by reports from England that suspended all-rounder Ben Stokes could be cleared to play a part in the series by police this week.

Vice-captain Stokes has been suspended since being arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

A report in Britain’s Daily Telegraph said that police would make a decision over whether to charge Stokes this week, potentially leaving him clear to join the England squad before the second Test in Adelaide.

“We can’t worry about it at the moment,” Lehmann said. “For us it’s more of a case of dealing with the squad they’ve got here.”

Updated Date: Nov 19, 2017





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3634 125
2 South Africa 3589 112
3 Australia 3499 106
4 New Zealand 2354 102
5 England 3772 97
6 Sri Lanka 2914 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5751 125
2 India 5492 122
3 South Africa 3842 113
4 New Zealand 4602 112
5 Pakistan 3279 102
6 Australia 3548 101
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 3270 131
2 Australia 1894 126
3 India 3932 123
4 New Zealand 2542 116
5 England 1951 115
6 South Africa 2058 114