ICC World T20 - Men
Lyon ramps up white-ball ambition
Spinner 'in the mix' for limited overs cricket, but selector casts doubt over ability to play all three formats
18 December 2015, 02:06 PM AEST
Nathan Lyon did his chances of a white-ball call-up no harm in the BBL|05 season opener on Thursday night, but selector Mark Waugh has cast doubt over the spinner's chances of playing all three forms of the game.
Lyon was one of the Sydney Sixers' better performers in their first-up loss to the Thunder at Spotless Stadium, taking the key wicket of Shane Watson and finishing with 1-28 from his four overs.
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The offie celebrated his 50th Test match last week, but his record in the coloured clothing includes just eight one-day internationals, the last of which was in October last year.
Australia have regularly used allrounder Glenn Maxwell as their main spinner in short-form cricket, and he led the way during their successful World Cup campaign earlier this year.
But with the World T20 in India on the horizon, selectors are expected to look at several spin options for the T20 game's showpiece event.
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Lyon has not shied away from his ambition to be Australia's No.1 spinner in all forms of the game, something Waugh seems opposed to.
However, the former Test batsman said Lyon was firmly in the frame for a white-ball call-up at some stage.
"He's definitely in the mix," Waugh said during Network Ten's coverage on Thursday night. "He's a quality spinner, no matter what format of the game.
"He probably can't play all three formats; I don't know if that's great for a spinner. But he's definitely an option.
"You certainly wouldn't discount him from 50-over cricket or T20 cricket.
"You want good spinners in India, don't you? You've got Glenn Maxwell who can bowl spinners in one-day cricket and T20s so whether you add an extra frontline spinner to Glenn Maxwell or not, that's the query.
"But he's definitely in the mix, that's for sure."
Lyon was left out of Australia's squad for their limited overs series against England earlier this year, with left-armer Ashton Agar and leg-spinner Cameron Boyce (T20 only) getting the nod.
Given both Maxwell and Lyon spin the ball in the same direction, and Maxwell is a lock in the middle order, selectors opted instead for bowlers who can turn the ball away from the bat.
Selection chairman Rod Marsh said at the time he felt "desperately sorry" for Lyon, adding that he didn't want the 28-year-old to lose any confidence from his strong Test performances "by perhaps copping a hiding every now and then in one-day cricket".
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While disappointed, Lyon was steadfast in his push to eventually break in to Australia's limited overs set-up.
"I was disappointed," he said. "There's no point hiding behind it, I want to be the No.1 spinner in all three formats.
"But Ashton's been bowling well over in India and they've gone for a spinner that will spin it away from the right-handers.
"I'll just have to work hard."
Lyon will play one more BBL match - against Hobart Hurricanes at the SCG on Sunday - before he returns to Australia's Test squad for the final two matches of their three-game series against the West Indies.
The offie is sure to get a further taste of white-ball cricket in January when the Test series is over, either with the Sixers or - should he earn a national call-up - in limited over matches against India.
Former Test and current Sixers teammate Brad Haddin said Lyon simply needed to back his ability in order to break into Australia's white-ball sides.
"I don't think Nathan has to do anything different to be honest, his bowling's been exceptional for a long period now," Haddin said this week.
"Every time he gets an opportunity with the white ball, it's no different ... he was outstanding during the Matador Cup and he was great for the Sixers last year."
"He's the premier spinner in Australia.
"He's been bowling outstandingly, I think, for the last 18 months, whether it be with the white ball or red ball.
"He just hasn't had much opportunity with the white ball.
"His form over all forms of cricket is outstanding."