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April 24, 2013
Australia's No. 1 spin bowler Nathan Lyon consulted his former Test team-mate Michael Hussey before deciding to leave South Australia and return to New South Wales, in a move that will take him closer to his family and also the spin mentoring of Stuart MacGill.
Lyon grew up in New South Wales but has not played for the state, having emerged through cricket in Canberra before he took up a job on the Adelaide Oval groundstaff in 2010 and was plucked from there into the South Australia side.
Explaining his decision to ESPNcricinfo, Lyon said he wanted to spend the time he had when not on international duty closer to his family, who hail from the town of Young in country New South Wales. Hussey handed Lyon stewardship of the Australian team song Under the Southern Cross on his retirement, and the pair have remained close.
"I haven't taken this decision lightly at all, I've spoken to a lot of people I trust," Lyon said. "Mike Hussey was one of those people I was talking to, we put all the pros and cons down for Adelaide. The cricket structure down in SA has been fantastic, they've really given me the opportunity to become an international cricketer and I'll always pay them the highest amount of respect.
"SA and [coach] Darren Berry especially has been fantastic for me and I have so much respect for them and I really love what they've done for me. But I have the opportunity to put a really good family support network around me and moving back home, closer to my family so I can have that support off the field that will hopefully help keep my cricket moving forward."
That support network will also include MacGill, the former Test legspinner who recently took up a part-time role with Cricket Australia as a spin bowling mentor. Lyon, MacGill, and the prospective Australia wrist-spinner Fawad Ahmed are presently training together in a spin camp at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.
"Stuart MacGill's record speaks for itself, he's an unbelievable talent and a past legend of Australian cricket," Lyon said. "To have a friendship with him and be able to talk cricket with him has been really good and I've learned a lot off him. I've got a lot of time for Stuart.
"I've really enjoyed being outside bowling and doing the little one percent things [in Brisbane]. My goal is to become more consistent with my bowling, to play my role in the Australian side better than before."
Lyon's move means the legspinner Adam Zampa, who the Redbacks have imported from New South Wales, could find himself a regular member of the South Australian side next summer. Zampa and Andrew McDonald, who requested a release from his Cricket Victoria contract to allow him to move to Adelaide, are the two interstate signings South Australia have confirmed in their 15-man squad for the 2013-14 season.
The allrounder Daniel Christian has been released from his contract and will join Victoria in what is effectively a straight swap for McDonald, while Cullen Bailey, Jake Haberfield and James Smith have all been dropped from the list. Berry said it was a shame to lose both Lyon and Christian but the team was pleased to welcome Zampa and McDonald.
"We were keen to keep both players and they were told that," Berry said of Lyon and Christian. "It is our job to develop Australian players and we have been able to help both Nathan and Daniel achieve that success.
"Adam Zampa broke into the first-class level last season and showed in a number of games that he is an exciting talent and future prospect for higher honours. The opportunity to work with Johan Botha will be a huge benefit to Zampa's career while bolstering the Redbacks' spinning stocks. Andrew McDonald is one of the best all-rounders in Australia. He gives us a great batting flexibility in our top order along with another medium pace option to complement our exciting bowling group."
South Australia have one place yet to fill on their contract list and they expected to finalise the squad by Thursday this week. Travis Head and Daniel Worrall have both been promoted to full contracts from the rookie list, while two new rookies - Alex Carey and Nick Winter - have been named.
South Australia Johan Botha, Tom Cooper, Callum Ferguson, Peter George, Travis Head, Phillip Hughes (Cricket Australia contract), Michael Klinger, Tim Ludeman, Andrew McDonald, Joe Mennie, Gary Putland, Kane Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa. Rookies Alex Carey, Elliot Opie, Alex Ross, Nick Winter.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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