Prime Ministers XI v England

Lyon to captain PM's XI against England

Off-spinner continues push to be three-format international with leadership role for PM's XI

Cricket Network

20 January 2018, 09:24 AM

Get pumped for the Prime Minister's XI

Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon will captain the Prime Minister's XI to face England in the annual fixture at Canberra's Manuka Oval next month.

The February 2 fixture is a Twenty20 clash that doubles as a warm-up for the Gillette T20 tri-series between Australia, New Zealand and England, and continues Lyon's push to be a three-format international.

The day will feature a double-header of T20 action, with Hong Kong – ranked 15th in the ICC's world T20 rankings – to play an ACT XI as a curtain raiser.

Lyon played a crucial role in Australia's 4-0 Magellan Ashes Series victory, taking 21 wickets at an average of 29.23, including the scalp of Moeen Ali a record seven times.

Lyon completes magnificent seven over Moeen

One of the best fielders in the Australia Test side, he demonstrated his prowess with a stunning run-out of James Vince in the first Test that was later hailed as a turning point of the series.

He also took two spectacular caught-and-bowled opportunities, one flying at full-stretch to his left that was quickly labelled the catch of the summer.

He slipped seamlessly into T20 cricket after the Test series, taking six wickets in three games for the Sydney Sixers in the KFC BBL, while conceding less than five runs per over.

National selector Mark Waugh confirmed Lyon had not been pegged a Test specialist and remained in the frame for an ODI recall, with Australia having slipped 2-0 down in the Gillette ODI series following Friday night's defeat at the Gabba.

"It doesn't matter what form of the game he's bowling in at the moment. He's gone to another level," Waugh told Sky Sports radio yesterday morning ahead of the second ODI.

"His confidence has flown through to his white-ball cricket. He's definitely pushing for selection in all three formats.

"At the moment Adam Zampa is in the one-day squad and he's done a good job when he's been in there.

"Nathan Lyon's one-day form a few years ago wasn't as good as what it could possibly be now. He's definitely in the frame, we're not discounting him.

"He's just bowling too well to ignore, but at the moment you can only fit 11 players in the (team).

"It's a very good squad and Zampa's record is good. (Lyon's exclusion) is probably more that there's not enough room, but he's definitely on the radar."

Lyon lifts the Sixers with three wickets

In the 20 games he's played over the five most recent BBL seasons for the Sixers, Lyon has claimed 31 wickets at 15.87 with an economy rate of 6.75.

Despite that, he's played just 14 limited-overs matches for Australia since his debut in 2012 with leg-spinner Adam Zampa, the leading ODI wicket-taker in 2016, holding down the spin-bowling spot in the 50-over squad in recent times.

But Lyon reiterated his desire to become Australia's No.1 spinner in all three formats and admits the 2019 World Cup is very much in his sights.

"To be a part of a World Cup would be pretty special," Lyon told cricket.com.au last week after taking 3-18 to help the Sixers to victory against the Melbourne Stars.

"That's definitely on my radar, I would love to be in that squad. I missed out on the home World Cup here (in 2015).

"There's no secrets … I want to be playing all formats of cricket for Australia. 

"But I'm just focused on going out and bowling well for whoever I play for. At the moment, that's Sydney Sixers.

"We've had an amazing summer winning the Ashes. I've just got to keep playing decent cricket with red ball, white ball, pink ball – whatever it is."

The PM's XI match also marks a homecoming of sorts for Lyon – he lived in Canberra as a teenager and represented the ACT at under 17 and under 19 level before making his debut for the ACT Comets in 2008.

And a job on the ground staff at Manuka Oval helped him land a job at the Adelaide Oval in 2010 that fast-tracked his cricket career and saw him rise through the ranks before making his Test debut just seven months later.

"It's a tremendous honour to be selected to captain the Prime Minister's XI and captain alongside the likes of past greats including Brett Lee, Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting," said Lyon.

"Obviously Manuka Oval holds a special place in my heart and I really look forward to the challenge of taking on England in the T20 format with what I'm sure will be an exciting group of players."

WHAT A CATCH! Lyon reels in a hanger in Adelaide

The full squad will be selected closer to the match date, and will be coached by former Test wicketkeeper and current Bupa Support Team assistant coach Brad Haddin, another with strong links to the Canberra community having made his professional debut for the ACT Comets in 1997.

Meanwhile, the appearance of Hong Kong in a double-header has been hailed as an important development to strengthen cricket in emerging markets by Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager of Team Performance, Pat Howard.

"On the back of the recent success of the Afghanistan players in the KFC Big Bash League and our international rookie program in the WBBL, this is another opportunity for the Australian public to witness the increasing talent coming out of emerging cricket nations.

"Ahead of the World Twenty20 in 2020 we are committed to help grow the international game and in particular emerging countries of the Asia and Pacific regions."

2017-18 International Fixtures

Gillette ODI Series v England

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Cameron White, Adam Zampa.

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

First ODI England won by five wickets at the MCG

Second ODI England won by four wickets at the Gabba

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21