Australia captain Michael Clarke was excited by the new blood in his squad that will face Sri Lanka this month.
Four uncapped players have been included in the 15-man line-up for the tour, including fast-bowlers Trent Copeland and James Pattinson, spinner Nathan Lyon and batsman Shaun Marsh. South Australian off-spinner Lyon was picked after just four first-class games, with the 23-year-old impressing on the recently-concluded Australia ‘A’ tour of Zimbabwe.
Clarke, who is yet to meet him, said that this was an ideal chance for the young player.
“He’s got an opportunity to grab it with both hands and, by all reports, I’m pretty confident he’ll do that, so he’s certainly got a lot of talent,” said Clarke as he prepared to leave for Colombo. “Now it’s about giving him a go and seeing how he handles playing cricket for Australia.”
Clarke is leading the team in his first Test series as full-time captain on the tour from August 6 to September 20, which also includes two Twenty20s and five One-Day Internationals.
“I love the fact we’ve got some fresh faces excited and itching for their opportunity. I think that’s a great thing to have around the group. But we have to play good cricket, we have to improve from our recent results throughout the last Australian summer. We need to get better and we know that, and I can guarantee we’re working as hard as ever in my career, so hopefully we can turn that around sooner rather than later.”
Australia head into the Test series fifth in the world, one place below Sri Lanka.
“I really hope we can turn things around straight away. I think it is going to take time for us to work our way back up the rankings.”
The Test series starts in Galle from August 31 with following Tests in Kandy from September 8 and Colombo from September 16.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011.
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