Lyon ready to spin for Australia in World Cup if required

Written by Mohan Sharma

Nathan Lyon has offered his services to Australia for the ongoing World Cup in India, declaring he has recovered from a calf injury and is available for selection if required.

“I sent Andrew McDonald a text message the other day when I saw Ashton Agar was ruled out.

“I said, ‘Just to let you know, I’m back bowling 10 overs, I’m right to go, 100 per cent’. If that happened I’d do anything to go over and play the World Cup,” Lyon said, while speaking to reporters at the Waverley Oval on Sunday.

Australia could face a few challenges in the spin department at the ODI showpiece after Ashton Agar was ruled out due to a calf tear he sustained during the T20Is in South Africa last month.

With only one specialist spinner in Adam Zampa and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell as the other option, the absence of a slow bowler could hurt Australia, especially in spin-friendly conditions in India.

“I’d be more than comfortable going in there and doing it if I had to. But, in saying that there has to be a lot of things go wrong; so let’s hope for Australia’s sake that doesn’t happen.

“Hopefully, they go out there and have a really good campaign and make sure they go over there to achieve what they’ve gone over there to do,” added the 36-year-old spinner, who hasn’t played any cricket since the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.

After more than 13 weeks of rehab, Lyon will return to competitive cricket next weekend, playing grade cricket for North District Cricket Club.

As he looks to play some Marsh Cup and Sheffield Shield games, he is in line to feature in the opening Test against Pakistan in Perth on December 14.

Lyon’s appearance in ODIs has been quite limited; he has 29 wickets in as many matches, at an average of 46.0 and an economy of 4.92, with the best figures of 4 for 44.

The last time he was in Australia’s ODI frame was in July 2019, during the previous World Cup.

However, he feels that Maxwell is the right person to take up that extra responsibility with the ball, especially after skipper Pat Cummins also asserted that the Victorian is a front-line spinner for the Aussies.

“Glenn Phillips bowled pretty well the other night against England, and I feel like Maxi’s (Maxwell) skill set is up there, and he’s extremely confident.

“Hundred per cent I’m backing his skill-set to do the job there, and when Travis Head comes back, I dare say his off-breaks will be quite effective as well,” he added.

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Mohan Sharma