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Lyon sets sights on 2019 World Cup after ODI call-up

Australia off-spinner keen to take on a leadership role among bowlers in new set-up.
Nathan Lyon in ODIs

Nathan Lyon is keen to press for inclusion in Australia’s squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 after a surprise call-up to the limited-overs side.

Lyon, Australia’s second-highest wicket-taker among spinners in Tests after Shane Warne, has featured in 78 Tests, but has played just 13 one-day internationals. The last of those appearances came back in August 2016 against Sri Lanka.

He now has a chance to add to that number after being named in Australia’s 15-man squad for the five-match ODI series against England in June.

The off-spinner admitted the call-up was unexpected. "Four weeks ago, I had a meeting with Cracker (Trevor Hohns, the Chairman of Selectors) in Jo’burg and he didn’t rate my chances very highly," Lyon told reporters outside Sydney Cricket Ground. “But to get a phone call from [him] last night while I was cooking dinner was a good surprise.”


Playing all three formats for Australia had been his “goal for a very long time", said Lyon. "To get this opportunity and be included in the squad and to head over to England where the World Cup is being played, that’s going to be a massive advantage.”

The last time Lyon faced the English, in the Ashes Tests, he picked up 21 wickets. With the selectors expecting him to particularly trouble the opposition’s left-handers, the bowler was ready for the change in format.

"I’ve got to be a lot smarter and probably think a lot quicker on your feet in the shorter formats than what you do in Test matches, but it provides a great opportunity,” he said.

The series will be the first in charge for the new coach-captain pair of Justin Langer and Tim Paine. In a bowling attack that is also missing Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, Lyon, given his experience, knows he and Josh Hazlewood will be expected to be leaders.

"It’s a good opportunity for Josh Hazlewood and myself to stand up as leaders" – Nathan Lyon


"I know Josh is a world-class bowler, but it’s a really good opportunity for Josh and myself to really stand up as leaders amongst the bowlers,” he said. "It’s a great opportunity in a new era and it’s an awesome opportunity to move forward as a group."

This leadership role would extend to Tests as well, he said. "Obviously, I’m the most experienced one there (with) the most games played. If I can provide some of the assistance to Tim over the next 12 months it’s going to be massive help to him."

Lyon acknowledged that the events of recent months meant Australia could expect a rough reception from crowds in England. “I've never played in England where they haven't given it to us,” he said. “There's no point taking some tissues out with us, we've just got to stand out there and cop it.

“It's a good chance for Australian cricket to move on and a good chance for Australian players to rebuild the trust and faith of the Australian public and earn back their respect."

 

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