Australian fielding coach Steve Rixon watches Nathan Lyon during training at Trent Bridge on Sunday. Photo: Ryan PierseMax Walker has warned Australia against opting for an all-out pace attack in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on Wednesday, saying former Canberra Comet Nathan Lyon ”picks himself”.
Walker, who played 34 Tests for Australia, said the disastrous India tour was the ”making of him” and the Young product had ”stamped himself as the best spinner in the country”.
There’s been speculation Australian selectors were considering picking four quicks – and possibly all-rounder James Faulkner as a fifth pace option – with Lyon making way for added speed.
But Walker believes it is crucial to have a spin option, saying it was fraught with danger to move away from a tried-and-tested formula of six batsmen, a wicketkeeper, one spinner and three quicks.
”He picks himself in exactly the same way as [English tweaker Graeme] Swann, he can be a match-winner, particularly if it’s a bit dry,” said Walker, who is the guest speaker at Queanbeyan Tigers’ long lunch at Woden’s Southern Cross Club on Friday.
”He’s made me smile the way he’s come through and grabbed his opportunity.
”In the last 12 months he’s really stamped himself as the incumbent and the best spinner in the country. His performances have started to stand up against anyone.”
While Walker backed Australia’s pace bowlers, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle, he didn’t think our stocks were quite to the level of past West Indies sides that featured the likes of Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Andy Roberts and Colin Croft.
”I know it worked for 17 years under the dynasty of what was world beaters in the West Indies … I don’t think we’re at that stage yet,” he told Fairfax Media.
”I’d be very careful given that you’ve already got, hopefully, [Shane] Watson for some overs.
”I’d be wary of going in with an all-pace attack, you’ve just got to take Nathan with you.”
Walker was confident Australia could cause an upset in the series.
”Don’t be surprised if our guys do surprise because … we have perhaps the best batsman in the world at the moment, Michael Clarke,” he said. ”We have a pace attack that could be anything over there … so I’m excited.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.