Darren Lehmann has dismissed reports of disharmony and discontent in Australia’s Ashes camp as “crap”.
Peter Nevill was retained ahead of Brad Haddin for the third Ashes Test, with the latter’s international career essentially over, barring an injury to his successor.
Players were reportedly unhappy with the decision, given Haddin withdrew from the second Test to spend time with his daughter in hospital.
Coupled with an eight-wicket loss inside three days at Edgbaston, some members of the English press have painted the 17-man squad as a group divided.
Lehmann, who previously labelled the contentious selection call the hardest cricket decision he’s had to make, sternly disagreed.
“That’s all rubbish. Things happen over here and the English press write a lot of crap,” he told radio station FIVEaa.
“This group is really tight. Everyone handled it really well.
“All the lads are good. We’ve copped a fair bit, as you do when you play badly, we’re just sticking together.”
“The atmosphere is great,” Nevill said.
“Everyone enjoys each other’s company and laughs and jokes around.
“Obviously it hurts losing, but the focus is now on bouncing back and winning the next Test.”
Nevill described his selection struggle with long-time mentor Haddin as a “complex situation”.
“All I can really focus on was I’ve been selected to do that job and I had to do it as best as I could,” he added.
“Hadds has just carried himself magnificently … he’s been incredibly supportive of me and has gone out of his way to make sure I’m as prepared as I can be.”
Australia have three days of training to work on their woes before the fourth Test starts at Trent Bridge.
Despite it being his second Test, Nevill showed arguably the greatest temperament among Australia’s battling batsmen at Edgbaston.
The 29-year-old spent three hours at the crease during Australia’s second innings. His dig lasted longer than any other in the one-sided match.
Nevill’s maiden half-century set England a victory target of 121 runs.
It delayed the inevitable, but that was a moral win of sorts given Australia avoided their first two-day Test loss since 1890.
It was also confirmation of why selectors Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmann kept Nevill in the XI.
“I sort of felt that I’d done the work to get here and I haven’t been concerned that I’m not up to it,” he said.
Far from it, Nevill relished the challenge of rebuilding Australia’s innings after they’d crumbled to 6-111.
“I had a number of moments where the crowd are very vocal and the England quicks are steaming in,” he said.
“I just took a little moment to think to myself ‘how much fun is this?'”