Australian head coach Darren Lehman has revealed that off-spinner Nathan Lyon will certainly feature in the side’s Playing XI for the first Ashes Test despite speculations that they may be tempted to field four seamers against England in Brisbane in November.
The Steve Smith-led are mulling the idea of going with the `big four` of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson.
However, Lehmann insisted that irrespective of combination of quicks that Australian selectors might go with in the series opener, Lyon would definitely accompany them.
“Nathan is going to play. There’s no doubt about that.At the end of the day we just have to see how it all pans out. With injuries, the bowling stocks, how they all come back and what the wicket is like. That’s still a long, long way away. We’ll just look at the conditions in Brisbane in two months’ time when we get there and work out what we do,” cricket.com.au quoted Lehmann as saying.
Lyon displayed a star performance in the recently-concluded two-match Test series against Bangladesh as he bagged 22 wickets, including three successive six wicket hauls, to move up nine positions to break into the top 10 for the first time.
Heaping praise over the off-spinner, Lehmann admitted that he had really grown up as a player and started taking the responsibility as a leader.
“He’s really grown. We changed the set-up of the side 12 months ago and we’ve had a lot of young guys come in the group. He’s had to take a next step as a leader so really pleased with the way he’s gone about that,” he said.
Earlier, Australia had insisted that they would not hesitate to go with four fast bowlers if needed, with a pace attack comprising of Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood and Pattinson forming a deadly combination.
Meanwhile, skipper Steve Smith had downplayed suggestions that playing all four might weaken the batting order.
“I guess it’s nice that all the fast bowlers – probably take Josh out of it – Starc, Cummins and Pattinson all bat pretty well. So I won’t say that we’ll do it but there’s a possibility that it could certainly happen, that you could play all four and Nathan Lyon,” Smith had said.
“(That) probably leaves the batting a little bit light, but those guys do hold the bat pretty well. It’s something to certainly think about,” he had added.
England, who hold the Ashes, will travel to Australia for a five-match Ashes series that begins on November 23 at the Gabba in Brisbane.