Prior rubbishes Lyon's 'scared' claim

Mitchell Johnson had Matt Prior caught behind Getty Images

Matt Prior has dismissed claims he wanted to fly home from the last Ashes tour because he was scared of Mitchell Johnson's bowling as "laughable".

The claims were made by Nathan Lyon who suggested the entire England team were terrified of Johnson during the 2013-14 series and said he "nearly had to push a couple of the guys back towards the stumps" from his fielding position at leg slip.

Lyon, the Australian offspinner, was particularly critical of Prior whom he accused of "wanting to fly home" ahead of the Perth Test. Lyon went on to say he hoped Australia would end the careers of more England players in this series.

"Seeing Mitchell Johnson scare all the Poms was unbelievable," Lyon said. "I was at leg slip and I nearly had to push a couple of the guys back towards the stumps. It was good fun.

"Leading into Perth we knew that they were broken. We knew Matt Prior wanted to fly home before the game started and he was one of the senior players. He was scared."

Prior, who was dropped after the third Test, said Lyon's comments were "completely ridiculous" and untrue.

"If that was the case and I was scared, why didn't I go home then?" Prior said. "I have no idea where this has come from. It's completely ridiculous and all I can do is laugh. It is wholeheartedly untrue.

"I stayed out there and what hurt me more was that I was dropped for the last two Tests because I wasn't playing well.

"I hope the first Test goes well for Nathan. I will be watching with interest to see how he goes. He has other things to worry about rather than thinking about me. I hope he lets his cricket do the talking now."

Lyon also stated that Australia's current attack was better and quicker than the one that inflicted a 5-0 whitewash upon England in 2013-14.

"They are quicker," Lyon said of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. "In the nets, definitely. I saw Steve Smith land on his backside the other day. Johnson didn't do that.

"I'm not getting in the nets to face them because they are bowling way too quick for my liking. They are class bowlers.

"But the best bowler in the world is Josh Hazlewood. He can swing the new ball in and out, he can seam it, he can bowl fast, he can bowl a nice bouncer, he can reverse an old ball. His consistency, the pace he bowls at and the way he controls the game is incredible. In my book he's the No. 1 bowler in the world."

Lyon went on to raise a few more spectres from the 2013-14 series in Australia, when Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann were among the long-standing members of the England dressing room whose careers finished, while the coach, Andy Flower, also stepped down.

"I know Joe Root got dropped last time when he was here, so it'd be good to get him dropped again," Lyon said. "If we can start by opening up that crack, it's pretty crucial. There's a lot of scars for the English guys, especially coming over here, especially when we have two guys bowling 150kph and not just one now.

"Could we end some careers? I hope so."