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Nathan Lyon

World Cup 2019 is on Nathan Lyon’s 'bucket list'

Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon has the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 on his radar as he chases his first appearance in cricket’s flagship event.

Lyon was overlooked in favour of left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty when Australia lifted the World Cup at home in 2015. He has since gone on to become one of the worlds leading bowlers in Test cricket – he is Australias most successful spinner after Shane Warne.

However, Lyon continues to be used sparingly in ODIs, with just 18 caps in a seven-year career. “As an Australian cricketer, you always want to play in the big tournaments, and I have never had the opportunity to play in a World Cup,” Lyon said ahead of Australia’s third ODI against India in Ranchi on Friday, 8 March. “It is definitely on my bucket list, something I definitely want to do.

“I daresay nearly every side in the World Cup will be playing two spinners. I am very confident with where my skill level is at. I know if I get the opportunity, I am confident I can get the job done for Australia.”

Lyon is one of the world's leading spinners in Test cricket, but his ODI career has never truly taken off
Lyon is one of the world's leading spinners in Test cricket, but his ODI career has never truly taken off

Lyon has had minimal opportunities in ODIs, but he’s also made minimal impact in them, with 19 wickets at 42.78. He has now played three matches in 2019 and has 1/151 in 30 overs – not bad figures, but not the sort to make you sit up and take notice. However, the off-spinner said he’s enjoying white-ball cricket, and was clear about where his strengths lie.

"I'm really enjoying playing white-ball cricket and being back in coloured clothing for Australia. For me, it's about enjoying the challenge and try to get better in the shorter format. I'm always about learning every time I go out to bowl,” he said. “There is added pressure, I guess, but none I'm putting on myself. I'm just looking forward to doing my best for the Australian cricket team.

"I still believe bounce is a massive weapon, having the ability to change up variations, pace and mindset, depending on who I'm bowling to. Personally, I'm trying to read the game, what's going to happen in the game and control that moment. Bounce is still an important factor for me; if I can hit the stickers on the bat, and hopefully those catches will go to the hand and not into the stands. It's a good challenge and it's something I'm excited about."

I am very confident with where my skill level is at. I know if I get the opportunity, I am confident I can get the job done for Australia.

Nathan Lyon

Lyon further said that he was trying to meet the demands of the modern-day game by adding variations to his arsenal, and predicted that spin will have a huge part to play in the World Cup in England and Wales. "Obviously, the wrist-spinners are a valuable part to any side and I'm working on a couple of different variations to keep up with the game," he said.

"The game is moving so fast, and it's a great opportunity for everyone to learn. But it's pretty important to have the balance of a couple of good spinners in your side. You look at India. Kuldeep Yadav's skills are unbelievable and [Ravindra] Jadeja has been quite impressive as well. It's important for any international side to have a couple of decent spinners going into the World Cup."

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