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Ex-Oz selector backs Hughes, Lyon to play crucial roles during Ashes

Sydney: Former Australian national selector Jamie Cox has claimed batsman Phil Hughes and off spinner Nathan Lyon will fill key roles during this year`s Ashes despite turbulent rides in team`s 4-0 humiliation against India in the subcontinent.

Off-spinner Lyon was inexplicably axed for the innings and 135-run second Test loss in Hyderabad in one of the great selection blunders of all time, and the offie hit back with a career-best nine wicket haul in the final Delhi Test to finish Australia`s most successful bowler of the series with 15.

Hughes was threatened with the axe but the suspensions of Shane Watson and Usman Khawaja for the third Test in Mohali triggered a mini resurgence from the left-hander.

Cox said Hughes has been coming in against spin in Indian conditions, which he wouldn`t have seen much of, adding he is only a little bloke and a left-handed batsman so there is already a pile of rough under his nose.

Cox believes Hughes will thrive in the key No. 3 slot against England in a return to the conditions that saw him thrive and rebuild his career with Worcestershire last year.

The decision to recall left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty and introduce all rounder Glenn Maxwell ahead of Lyon stumped most observers including Cox.

Lyon stunned India with a first-innings 7/94 in the fourth Test, eclipsing his previous best 5/34 on debut against Sri Lanka at Galle two years ago.