Australia’s bowlers want Tim Paine behind the stumps for the first Ashes Test against England because he is “the best keeper in the world”, spinner Nathan Lyon said on Thursday.
Paine quit as Test captain in disgrace last week over a text message scandal, but is keen to keep playing.
Selectors must decide whether to cut him loose and start afresh or show loyalty amid a groundswell of support to keep him in the team for the opening clash in Brisbane on December 8.
Opener Marcus Harris on Wednesday said Paine had the backing of the Australian squad and Lyon — who is one wicket away from claiming 400 Test scalps — reiterated this.
“The selectors always said they were going to pick the best available XI and in my eyes Tim Paine is the best keeper in the world,” he said. “I know I want him. Every bowler’s relationship with (him) is exceptional and Tim Paine is a very loveable guy and a very well-respected guy within the changeroom.”
Lyon added: “Tim made a mistake, he’s owned it, for me that shows great courage, to be honest.”