Brisbane, Nov 25
Former captain Ricky Ponting had called Tim Paine, who stepped down as Australia skipper a few days back due to an off the field sexting scandal, as a distracting for the team during the Ashes. But Australia's top spinner, Nathon Lyon on Thursday came out in support of Paine calling him the world's best wicketkeeper and said he will not be a distraction.
Lyon, who disagreed with Ponting, made a ringing endorsement of Paine and said Australia's entire bowling unit wants him behind the stumps in the Ashes series.
"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," Lyon told the Australian media on Thursday.
"I know I want him. This is very selfish from a bowler's point of view, I want the best gloveman behind the stumps. In my eyes that's Tim Paine," said Lyon, who according to a report in cricket.com.au described the sound of the ball hitting Paine's gloves as "music to my ears".
Lyon said he was sure Australia's entire bowling unit for the Ashes series wants Paine keeping the wickets.
"Every (Test) bowler's relationship with (Paine) is exceptional and Tim Paine is a very lovable guy and a very well-respected guy within the changeroom.
"I think every bowler - I'm pretty sure I'm speaking on behalf of every bowler (in the Test team) -we want the best keeper. As I keep saying, I can't say it any more times, Tim is the best keeper in the world," Lyon was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
Paine has recently recovered from an invasive operation on his neck in September and is currently getting ready to play a 50-over match for Tasmania against Western Australia on Friday.
He will be joining the main Test squad in Gold Coast on Sunday, awaiting a final decision by the selectors regarding who will be Australia's captain and whether Paine will be picked in the shortlist for the first Test starting on December 8.