Australia’s Nathan Lyon, who will play his 100th Test at the Gabba on Friday, has asserted with confidence that the end is ‘far away’ and has claimed that he wants to play Test cricket for Australia for as long as he can. The 99-Test veteran is also 4 wickets away from reaching the 400-mark.
Nathan Lyon debuted at a time when Australia were playing musical chair with their spinners, in search of finding the next Shane Warne, yet while he impressed instantaneously, picking a five-fer on debut, the expectations were low from a rookie who was as much a groundsman as he was a spinner. Yet a decade on, the off-spinner stands tall as the most successful finger spinner in the country’s history – which has earned him the nickname GOAT – and arguably the best since Warne. Now 4 shy of 400 Test wickets, Lyon will play his 100th Test for Australia come Friday at the Gabba, a feat achieved by only 12 other Australians in Test history.
Lyon’s records have undoubtedly earned him a place in Australian cricket’s Hall of Fame, yet with him now 33, there are doubts over how much longer he will last, particularly having already worked tirelessly for an entire decade. But speaking ahead of the landmark Test, the off-spinner quashed all apprehensions about retirement and asserted that he is determined to carry on for as long as he possibly can.
“I’m far from being done,” Lyon was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“I’m still hungrier than ever. I want to go out there and play as much cricket for Australia as I can … win a lot of Test series for Australia. I’ve obviously learnt so much, grown in confidence quite a fair bit.”
What has been remarkable about the New South Welshman’s journey is that he has remained the country’s first-choice spinner for 10 years straight, with his place in the side never once coming under scrutiny or threat. This consistency and sustained excellence is what has led Lyon to bring up his ton, and the 33-year-old claimed that he was humbled by the thought of finding himself on a list alongside the elites of the sport.
“I look at the other 12 guys who have played more than 100 Test matches of cricket for Australia and they’re pure legends. Not just for Australia but (other 100-Test players from) all around the world, I’m going to pinch myself each and everyday to see my name up against those fellows.
“It’s pretty amazing. I’ve tried in the past not to look too far ahead. But I’m pretty excited about this … just the thought of playing 100 Test matches for Australia is very humbling,” said Lyon.
‘Gazza’ almost helped Australia pull off a final day heist in Sydney, but ordinary catching from skipper Tim Paine meant that his efforts went in vain. Gabba is historically seen as a ‘bouncy’ wicket, yet it will be of little doubt that Australia will once again rely on the 33-year-old to set up the game and a series win. Lyon credited India’s batsmen for salvaging a draw at the SCG, but claimed that he and his side have since come up with ‘new plans’ to disrupt the visitors’ batting.
“I was still able to get some spin out of it,” Lyon said, speaking of the SCG Test.
“They (India) played extremely well. We’ve put in place a couple of new plans since that last Test. I’m still learning … I’ll continue to learn, 100 Test matches and beyond.”
The fourth and final Test of the series will be played at the Gabba from Friday, January 15.