Born on November 20, 1987, Nathan Lyon began his career as a member of the ground-staff team at the Adelaide Oval after finishing a 4-year apprenticeship at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.<br…
Born on November 20, 1987, Nathan Lyon began his career as a member of the ground-staff team at the Adelaide Oval after finishing a 4-year apprenticeship at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.
His off-breaks caught the eyes of South Australia’s Big Bash coach, Darren Berry and was recruited into the Redbacks T20 team in 2010-11. After impressing in the T20’s, Lyon went on to represent South Australia in the Sheffield Shield and the domestic one day competition. His fast rise saw him get selected for the ‘A’ tour of Zimbabwe in 2011 where he finished with 11 wickets in the tri-series to earn the Man of the Series award.
His efforts at the domestic and the ‘A’ levels did not go unnoticed. Australia were looking for a spinner since the retirement of Shane Warne and Lyon found himself touring with the national squad for the 3-test series against Sri Lanka. A classical off-spinner who loves to flight the ball, Lyon found immediate success and claimed a 5-wicket haul on his debut at Galle thus becoming the 131st player to do so. His returns were modest in the remaining part of the tour, but Lyon had shown that he is a long term prospect in the Australian tour.
Interesting fact: When he dismissed Kumar Sangakkara with his 1st ball in international cricket, Lyon became the 14th bowler and 2nd Australian to take a wicket with the very 1st ball of an international career. He finished with 5/34 in the first innings, becoming the 131st player to take five wickets on debut in a Test match.
Lyon played his first test in Australia at the Gabba against New Zealand in the first Test match of the series. Lyon took 4/69 in the first innings and 3/19 in his second innings resulting in match figures of 7/88, which is the best Test match bowling figures by an Australian off-spinner at the venue.
In April 2013, Lyon was named as the only spinner for the 2013 Ashes in England. It held true until hours before the first Test when he was dropped out of the line-up in favour of Ashton Agar. However, he was recalled to the team for the Third Ashes Test, and in the Fourth Test at Chester-le-Street, he took figures of 4/42 on the first day and reduced England to 238 in their first innings.
He cemented his place in the side by the end of the 2013 Ashes series and skipper Michael Clarke couldn’t ignore him for any of the Tests in the return Ashes series Down Under. He gave tremendous support to the fast bowlers trio of Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle by maintaining tight lines. He was Clarke’s go-to man when he needed to stem the run flow. When the seamer’s were not able to get the breakthrough, Lyon put his hand up and broke a number of crucial partnerships. He ended up with 19 wickets in the series which meant he had booked a seat on the flight to South Africa. Lyon bagged 8 wickets in the 3-match series and again played a crucial part and helped his side win a hard fought series 2-1.
While team was on national duty to play limited overs cricket. Lyon rolls his arms over in the domestic circuit as the selectors want him purely as a Test bowler. He represented the Sydney Sixers in the 2013/14 Big Bash League and did fairly well.
\”Nathan Lyon works very hard on his bowling. He’s the best off-spinner Australia has ever produced.\” – lauded Shane Warne as the offie continued to pick wickets even in pacer-friendly tracks. Such is Lyon’s class and consistency. He consumed scalps in the 2015 Ashes but was overlooked for the shorter version of game. He had a terrific 2015-16 home summer and was drafted into the side for the 5-match ODI series against India. Lyon was mediocre during that series and was yet again denied a ticket for the 2016 World T20. After Australia’s exit from the mega event, cricket purists affirmed that Nathan Lyon would have been an impact player had he been part of the squad. Lyon though continues to be one of the senior members of the Australian Test side till date.
Lyon also made a surprise entry into Australia’s white-ball squads during the 2018-19 and while he hasn’t been a genuine wicket-taking option, the off spinner has provided the control that he renowned for. With his tidy brand of slow bowling, he has formed a good partnership with Adam Zampa whenever the two have played together. However, Lyon is definitely the back up spinner but still, he would be pleased to be in the reckoning for limited-overs cricket and his World Cup call up means that the selectors have faith in him delivering on the big stage.