Australian spinner Nathan Lyon says he feels more comfortable about his status as the Test team's No.1 spinner than he did before the last Ashes series in the UK.
Lyon has endured an uncertain year, dropped during the tour of India and then for the first two Tests against England.
After two consecutive years of being backed by selectors as Australia's premier spinner, Lyon found himself looking over his shoulder at Ashton Agar and Fawad Ahmed.
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But the 25-year-old, who has been in strong form for NSW in the domestic one-day cup, says he's feeling more confident now that he's the tweaker foremost in the selectors' minds when they sit down to pick their team for the first Test in Brisbane on November 21.
"Yeah, I suppose so. I'm confident in my own skill set that I can get the job done," Lyon said.
"Selectors have to come up with the squad they think can win the Ashes back and hopefully I'm in the mix there.
"It was a big challenge bowling to Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell in such good form ... I thrive on challenges and I personally feel I've achieved a couple of little goals there for myself being able to prove myself against those guys at that level in an Ashes series."
Lyon bowled well against Queensland at North Sydney Oval on Thursday, a tiny venue normally known for being a spinner's nightmare.
Happily back playing for his home state, Lyon knows the Blues must win their final two matches, including another clash with ladder-leaders Victoria at North Sydney on Sunday, to stay alive in the Cup.
Against the Bulls he removed Greg Moller with a ripper, jokingly described by teammates as "the new ball of the century."
Australia appointed Craig McDermott as Test fast bowling coach on Thursday, but there's no spin specialist that travels with the national team.
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However, Lyon, who is also craving a return to the Australian ODI team, says he feels well supported by spin mentor John Davison.
"I'm not neglected at all. I've got John Davison and Cricket Australia has been really good with Davo being able to help me whenever I want," he said.
"I've got Davo on the books ... I'm always speaking to him by phone and internet ... so hopefully I'll have a few good sessions before the first Test."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.
First Posted 19 October, 2013 11:26AM AEST