Lehmann tells Australia: Get behind the Ashes team
Darren Lehmann has urged Australia to unite behind his Ashes team as the head coach explained the controversial inclusions of Tim Paine and Shaun Marsh.
The recall of Paine and Marsh for Australia's blockbuster five-Test series against rivals England has sparked great debate and criticism among past players, pundits and fans.
Lehmann's former team-mate Shane Warne has headlined the critics following the announcement of Australia's 13-man squad for the opening two matches.
However, Lehmann just wants the country to support the Aussies with the battle for the coveted urn set to get underway in Brisbane on Thursday.
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion, aren't they? I'd just like all our players, ex-players, to be really positive about the Australian cricket team," Lehmann told reporters on Sunday.
"Let's just get everyone from Australia behind the Australian cricket team and let's get moving forward."
Paine will wear the gloves behind the stumps for the first time since 2010.
The 32-year-old was surprisingly plucked from the international wilderness at the expense of Matthew Wade, despite not being the first-choice wicketkeeper for Tasmania.
"We've watched him keep a fair bit," Lehmann said. "Obviously T20s and the chairman’s game…he's a high-quality keeper.
"I was very impressed with him down in the Adelaide game when he played against England. He's been in good form with the gloves, as he always has been, and he has been very good for us in the T20s."
The return of Marsh – who will bat at number six – has also drawn criticism following his eighth Test recall.
Marsh, 34, will get another opportunity to prove himself at Test level, despite scoring just 236 runs at 39.33 in the Sheffield Shield this season.
"We are really confident of where he is at as a player. He's in good form, so he'll do well," he said.
"He's pretty calm. He's grown up a lot in the last few years and played some important knocks for us. He’s really confident within himself."