Australia shrug off 'disappointing' criticism
Test side tuning out reaction to surprise inclusions for Magellan Ashes squad
Martin Smith in Brisbane
20 November 2017, 04:30 PM AEST
Australia's cricketers have shrugged off criticism of their Magellan Ashes squad, with spinner Nathan Lyon saying the players are a united group ahead of the first Test of the summer.
Australia's surprise squad announcement last Friday has led to a strong reaction from the likes of former captain Allan Border and spin king Shane Warne, with Border labelling the selection of wicketkeeper Tim Paine "bizarre" and Warne claiming selectors are "confused".
Speaking on Monday, Lyon and batsman Peter Handscomb didn't hide their frustration at the negative media coverage but insisted the players were blocking out the external noise in the days leading up to the Gabba Test.
"It's been a little bit disappointing, all the criticism that this team has got," Handscomb said. "This is the team that's out there to win the Ashes.
"Some of the things that have come out from ex-players is a bit disappointing, but in our team and in our inner sanctum, we know that this team is good enough and we know what we can do.
"We've got the belief ... and we'll go out there and go well.
"It doesn't really matter what gets said out in the media. We know what we're going to do, we know how strong we are and whatever gets said, it's not a massive deal for us."
And Handscomb said there was an obvious and effective way to silence the team's critics.
"If you win, they've got nothing to talk about," he added.
The recall of Paine after a seven-year absence was the most surprising choice in the squad, but spinner Lyon says the Tasmanian's name had been mentioned in some informal internal discussions.
He said the media speculation about and subsequent reaction to the squad announcement wasn't replicated inside the playing group, adding Paine has been warmly welcomed back into the fold.
"Tim's fine, he's got the support of the inner sanctum," he said. "We're a great team together, we're all good people and we're all good mates.
"That's one big helping hand for us to move forward in this series ... we've got to make sure our inner sanctum is tight and is a bubble. And we can't let the media or past players or the public have an effect on us.
"If you're in and around the squad, you have a feeling and you have discussions with people and you know where the selectors are probably heading.
"There wasn't too many big surprises there. I know Painey's name got mentioned to me a couple of times.
"We've got 13 players here ... no matter who goes out into the middle, I've got 100 per cent confidence we can get the job done."
Handscomb also dismissed the suggestion that the fallout from the selection announcement would dampen the support of the Australian supporters.
"I think the Australian public will get behind us very, very easily," he said.
"They all come out in their thousands to watch. The crowd's going to me amazing, the atmosphere will be awesome and we're looking forward to it."
2017-18 International Fixtures:
Magellan Ashes Series
First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets
Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets
Gillette T20 INTL Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21