Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon has backed Tim Paine to retain his place in the XI when the hosts take on England in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane from December 8. Paine quit as Australia Test captain over a sexting scandal wherein he sent explicit messages to a former female colleague at Tasmania Cricket.
Tim Paine was cleared of any misconduct after a Cricket Australia investigation into the issue following a complaint by the female colleague in 2018. Paine took over as Australia's Test captain in the same year following the Sandpaper Gate row in which Steve Smith lost his captaincy.
Questions have been raised as to how Australia allowed Tim Paine to continue as captain despite the sexting scandal. However, Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein and CEO Nick Hockley, last week, admitted that they would have fired Tim Paine as the captain had they been in charge during the investigation in 2018.
However, Cricket Tasmania slammed Cricket Australia's handling of the issue, saying it should have never come to Paine quitting as captain.
Paine said in a tearful message that he did not find his actions from 2017 worth of staying on as Australia captain but stressed he will continue to give his best for the Australian team.
However, the former captain has received the backing of the off-spinner, saying he wants the best wicketkeeper to handle the gloveman duty in the crucial Ashes series against England.
"The selectors said they were going to pick the best available XI. In my eyes, Tim Paine is the best keeper in the world," Lyon said on Thursday.
"This is very selfish: From a bowler's point of view, I want the best gloveman behind the stumps. Every bowler's relationship with the keeper is exceptional. I'm pretty sure I'm speaking on behalf of every bowler that we want the best keeper," he added.
Meanwhile, Lyon said Paine has the backing of the entire dressing room as Australia gear up for the series opener at the Gabba.
"He's got my full support and I 100 per cent guarantee he's got the full support of the Australian change room," Lyon added.
Australia are heading into the Ashes after having lost at Gabba to India earlier this year. England have headed to Australia with a nearly full-strength squad as the return ot Ben Stokes has added to the firepower in the visitors' squad.