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Friday, January 21, 2022

Lyon right for Ashes after cricket lull

Nathan Lyon insists lockdown won’t ruin his Ashes preparations, adamant he’s ready to take on whatever side England send out to Australia.

Lockdowns, selection and cancelled tours means Lyon has not played a game for almost six months, in his biggest break from cricket since childhood.

The offspinner is still likely weeks away from his first official match, with NSW hoping to take on Victoria in two red-ball games over the next month.

Lyon is likely to play in those matches before entering two weeks of quarantine ahead of the first Test in Brisbane, in one of the shortest preparations to a Test summer imaginable.

But the 33-year-old says he is better placed as a result of his first full pre-season in a decade, confident his centre-wicket sessions at Spotless Stadium and Blacktown would be enough.

“I’m more than confident with my preparation,” Lyon said. 

“If the Test started tomorrow I’d be itching to go and knowing that my skill set is where it needs to be.

“It comes down to every individual … they’re professional athletes and they know how to prepare to get ready for an Ashes. 

“You’re not going to leave any stone unturned in preparation for the Ashes.”

Lyon’s break from cricket was made longer after he was overlooked for white-ball tours of Bangladesh and West Indies, before missing T20 World Cup selection.

The NSW spinner claimed that had only fuelled him further over the winter, still determined to step up his white-ball career.

He also let go an opportunity to take a shot at England’s players over their Ashes hesitance on Thursday, after being the main verbal instigator before the 2017-18 series.

Lyon opted not to follow the lead of Ian Botham, who claimed the current England team were trying to avoid facing Australia while underdone amid quarantine concerns.

Reports out of England have since suggested Joe Root’s men will tour, however Ben Stokes is likely to join Jofra Archer in being unavailable through injury after a second finger surgery.

Jos Buttler remains the only other considering sitting out, as he weighs up whether his family will join him.

But when put to him that England could be concerned about facing a full-strength Australia, Lyon did not bite.

“I’m not sure really sure they’re worried about coming to Australia and playing us,” Lyon said. 

“Obviously the concerns a little bit deeper than that. 

“But knowing Joe Root on a personal note, firstly he’s a great guy but I know he’s he is a very good competitor as well. 

“He likes to get into the fight out in the middle. And he’s the No.1 batter in the world at the moment. 

“So I’m expecting England to come out pretty well full strength.”


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