Matador BBQs One-Day Cup 2016

Fine Lyon between failure and success

Off-spinner confident he'd been bowling well through Matador Cup before stunning return in decider

Martin Smith at North Sydney Oval

23 October 2016, 08:15 PM AEST

Nathan Lyon says his player-of-the-match performance in the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup final was simply validation for good form earlier in the tournament that hadn't been reflected on the scoreboard.

The Test off-spinner entered Sunday's final having taken just four wickets at 64 in six matches and having also been dropped for Friday's elimination final against Victoria.

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Recalled to the side for the final against Queensland, Lyon produced outstanding figures of 4-10 from his 10 overs, the most economical 10-over spell in NSW history, to guide the Blues to back-to-back titles.

But the 28-year-old believes the performance wasn't exactly a return to form, rather a case of everything falling into place on the big stage.

"To be honest, I felt like I've been bowling OK," he said after NSW's six-wicket victory at North Sydney Oval.

"I know the stats and the scorebooks don't show that, but playing on small grounds and pretty good batting wickets, your best ball usually goes for six, especially your Test-match length.

"So I've been really happy with the way the ball has been coming out.

"I bowled exactly the same (today) as I bowled the other day, I just didn't get hit out of the park today. That's the only difference.

"I think I changed my pace pretty well today; I went up when I had to go up, I went flat when I had to go flat. I'm pretty happy with it."

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Lyon also denied that he needed the confidence boost that comes with a big haul of wickets going into the first Commonwealth Bank Test against South Africa in Perth, starting on November 3.

"Not really," he said. "Especially in one-day cricket, it's all about partnerships and being able to read the game and understanding where the game's going. And if you can build pressure from one end and the other guy takes wickets, so be it.

"But it fell my way today and I'm very happy with the way I bowled and to be able to have an impact in a final, that's what you train for."

Lyon has had his fair share of disappointment over the winter months; he lost his place in Australia's one-day international side and also copped plenty of criticism following his performance in Australia's 3-0 Test series loss in Sri Lanka.

The first and only Australian off-spinner to take 200 Test wickets, Lyon was singled out by coach Darren Lehmann and captain Steve Smith as a player who should have had more of an impact in the series.

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Lyon received support from former Test and ODI skipper Steve Waugh last week, who labelled the public criticism of the spinner's performance "a mistake".

"I know as a leader my mantra was praise in public, criticise in private," Waugh told Fox Sports. "I don’t think you need to hang that laundry out for everyone to see.

"It can create a bit of division if you’re criticising one of your players.

"They feel as if they’re the cause of the problems and they need to lift their game, that puts undue pressure on a guy who I thought was our main bowler and had to bowl a lot of overs. I thought he was doing a pretty good job as well."

For his part, Lyon said he "learned a lot" from the Sri Lanka tour and denied his confidence had taken a hit after he took 16 wickets at 32. 

And while he expressed frustration at losing his spot in the ODI side, he said he would continue to put his hand up for selection in all three formats.

"You're always going to get frustrated," he said of his ODI axing, adding he hasn't spoken to selection chairman Rod Marsh about what he needs to do to break back into the side.

"My goal is to play all three formats for Australia and when you don't get that, frustration is the word.

"But I've just got to keep coming out and putting my hand up for selection."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith