SYDNEY, (Reuters) – The next time Darren Lehmann sends out a team will be in the Ashes opener against England and the Australia coach already has some firm ideas of who will be playing in Brisbane after a mixed tour of Bangladesh.
Lehmann, who also sits on the selection panel, will be handing over to assistant David Saker for the limited overs tour of India after the test squad battled back from losing to Bangladesh for the first time to square the series on Thursday.
Some players, most notably off-spinner Nathan Lyon and opener David Warner, bolstered their reputations further on the dusty sub-continental tracks but other spots on the team are now clearly up for grabs.
All-rounder Glenn Maxwell may have smashed a six to win the second test but Lehmann suggested that 100 runs over four innings and a single wicket were not necessarily going to be enough to earn him a first cap on home soil.
“With number six in Australia, it’s totally different to Asia,” Lehmann told reporters before Australia left Bangladesh.
“We’ll certainly be looking at that position, and anyone can jump out of the pack in the three Shield games and what we think the best make-up is for that first test. Glenn is there at the moment, like everyone else, he’ll have to perform.”
Usman Khawaja was dropped for the second test after mustering up just two runs in the first, but Lehmann suggested that his pedigree on home soil might get him back at number three in the batting order for the Gabba on Nov. 23.
“I would think Usman would play the first test match, although I’m only one of four selectors,” the coach said.
“Obviously for the make-up of the side we changed it here, but we think he’s a pretty special player and obviously he’s got a really good record in Australia.”
Matthew Wade, who scored 17 runs from three innings, is another player under pressure for his spot, despite becoming the first Australian wicketkeeper to effect three stumpings in a single match in the second test.
“We obviously want runs from our keeper as well, which is important so for him and all the other keepers around the country,” said Lehmann.
“The Shield games are going to be important.”
Australia’s fast bowling is expected to give them an edge against England and while Pat Cummins’s performance in Bangladesh all but secured his place in the Ashes squad, Lehmann stressed that a place in the team will be found for Lyon.
Lyon’s 22 wickets in two tests means for the first time since Shane Warne’s retirement a decade ago, Australia will go into an Ashes series with little or no debate over the identity of their best spinner.
“Nathan is going to play. There’s no doubt about that,” Lehmann said.