Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia head coach Darren Lehmann has announced that all-rounders who can bowl a large number of overs and take wickets regularly will definitely be in team for the upcoming series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
It is highly likely that Mitchell Marsh will be filling that role since Shane Watson was ruled out of the series with a calf injury.
However, Glenn Maxwell is another candidate who can be very handy with both the bat and ball.
Lehmann also revealed that left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson will play both Tests and is highly likely to play in the three-match ODI series as well.
Johnson was recently ruled out of the ongoing Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) in India after he sustained a rib injury during the ODI tri-series against Zimbabwe and South Africa.
However, Lehmann also confirmed that Johnson will miss the one-off Twenty20 International so that he has more time to recover from his injury.
“I think it puts competition on everyone,” Lehmann said. “Shane [Watson] knows he needs to be an all-rounder. We’ve spoken to him about that. We just want him fully fit when he comes back and plays.
“It’s a big summer coming up and with the heat over there the all-rounder would have to bowl a lot more than probably four or five overs. He would probably get by as just a batter maybe but we need him as a fully fit all-rounder.
“We’re lucky he’s done a fair bit of bowling before [the injury] so it won’t be an issue.”
Lehmann is also putting his faith in frontline spinner Nathan Lyon to take a lot of wickets in the Test series, especially since he has been working closely with legendary Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who recently agreed to become Australia’s spin consultant.
“It’s a hard time because the last day of a game you expect him to win the game,” Lehmann said. “He’s bowled well in the first innings of Test matches but when it’s come to the crunch he hasn’t delivered as he would have liked or we would like.
“He knows that, he’s worked really hard on that. It’s about putting good balls in the right spot more often. If he improves that aspect of his game his record would be outstanding.”