Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 August 4, 2014

Lyon back in Australia's ODI squad

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Coverdale: Selectors will want to get a look at Lyon before World Cup

Offspinner Nathan Lyon has gone from Test specialist to World Cup contender after being named in Australia's squad for the one-day tri-series in Zimbabwe later this month. Lyon has been included alongside allrounders Mitchell Marsh and Ben Cutting in the 14-man squad, while fast bowler Kane Richardson has also been recalled after playing his only ODI in January 2013.

Surprisingly, there was no room for Phillip Hughes, who last Tuesday became the first Australian ever to score a double-century in a List A match when he made an unbeaten 202 for Australia A in Darwin. Hughes had seemed the most likely replacement for David Warner, who will not make the tour as he prepares for the birth of his first child in Sydney.

Instead, the selectors went for a group heavy on all-round options rather than specialist batsmen, with Aaron Finch and Shane Watson the most likely opening combination. Steven Smith was also included, having played only two ODIs in the past two years as he, like Lyon, found himself more or less playing the role of a Test specialist.

Lyon's only two one-day international appearances came in early 2012, when he played against Sri Lanka in Adelaide and against West Indies in Kingston. However, he first emerged domestically as a Twenty20 bowler and the new chairman of selectors, Rod Marsh, said he was keen to see what Lyon could bring to the one-day side.

"Nathan has done very well in Test match cricket," Marsh said. "He first came under notice in T20 cricket, he's bowled well in last year's Ryobi Cup and I guess the unlucky one there is Xavier Doherty. But having said that we know exactly what Xavier is capable of. We're not 100% sure of what Nathan is capable of seeing as his last ODI for Australia was in the West Indies and that's a couple of years back now.

"We want to give him another opportunity before we even start talking too much about the upcoming World Cup. It's not to say that Doherty won't be in that squad but we just want to have a look at Nathan on top of some pretty good Test match form."

Lyon is the only specialist spinner in the squad, with Glenn Maxwell and Smith available as back-up options. The fast-bowling group is dominated by the left-armers Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Faulkner, with Cutting and Richardson providing the main right-arm options, alongside the medium-pace allrounders Watson and Mitchell Marsh.

Both Cutting and Richardson were in outstanding form during the recent A-series in Darwin, with Richardson collecting 13 wickets at 11.30 and Cutting taking 12 at 18.16. Marsh was also a strong performer with 11 victims, and brings batting form after scoring 211 in a first-class Australia A match against India A in Brisbane last month.

"The thing we like most about Mitch Marsh at the moment is his bowling," Rod Marsh said. "He's capable of opening the bowling or coming on through the middle overs and can do so with good pace which is pleasing. It's the sign of a true allrounder if they can be in the side for either their bowling or batting and he is certainly getting close to that which is great for Australian cricket."

There was no room in the squad for Clint McKay, who is Australia's leading one-day wicket taker over the past three years and is fifth on the ICC's one-day bowling rankings, making him Australia's highest-ranked bowler. Marsh said McKay, Doherty and Hughes were especially unfortunate to miss out.

"We would have loved to pick Phillip but it's quite difficult to find the spot for him with a strong batting line-up," Marsh said. "He was in superb form during the recent Australia A one-day matches, including a stand-out double-century and the national selection panel will certainly be continuing to watch him closely.

"We're very aware of what both Xavier and Clint offer and both have played important roles for the ODI team and performed very well but with the World Cup edging closer we have to take opportunities to also consider players like Cutting, Lyon and Richardson who have all been pressing claims."

Shaun Marsh (elbow), Nathan Coulter-Nile (hamstring) and James Pattinson (back) were all unavailable due to injuries. The tri-series involving Australia, Zimbabwe and South Africa begins in Harare on August 25, and Australia will play each side twice before the final on September 6.

Australia squad Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Cutting, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Nathan Lyon.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • espncricinfomobile on August 13, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    I think Australia need Ashton Agar back and maybe get in Clive Rose

  • philander50 on August 10, 2014, 22:33 GMT

    @Jamie Moneghan - I bet you were quiet when we visited you guys last time. More importantly your AUS A side aren't doing too well, losing every game so far :)

  • bren19 on August 7, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    The selectors might be wanting to look at Lyon to see if as the main Australian spinner he has actually learned to spin the ball?

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on August 6, 2014, 20:46 GMT

    @dunger.bob - I'm a London based Aust fan so he isnt my Swann. He actually averages 53 with the ball in Australia. I made a comment that referred to his retirement when his overall average was getting very close to 30 and it was edited to how it appears which isnt correct and not what I said. I'll accept posting of this by way of an apology by cricinfo

  • Chris_P on August 6, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    To be fair to Tommytuckersaffa, he did offer up the best side won afterwards & took his lot unlike a few of his fellow countrymen, (Albie comes to mind). He is a proud Bok fan & seems to know a bit about cricket, so I can cop his jibes as well as he can recieve them, it's all in good fun. Cheers

  • espncricinfomobile on August 6, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    @Chris_P. Tommytuckersaffa was very very quiet while Australia were easily beating SA in their own backyard early in the year yet again so he doesn't like getting it back as he's still hurting from another loss to Australia.

  • dunger.bob on August 6, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    @ Behind_the_bowlers_arm: It is interesting that the great Sri Lankan averages more than double your Swann in Australia. I'd like to posit an explanation. I think there are two factors in play here. 1] The quality of the opposition. Murali was up against a very handy team his whole career. A very handy team indeed. .. Swann had it a little easier I'd say. He got a taste early on but by the time he really hit his straps that team was gone. 2] Apart from Vaas, Murali didn't have much help. It was a matter of blocking him and sending the rest out of the park on occasions. England had a much more balanced attack and our lads were left with little choice but to try to attack Swann.

    Don't get me wrong, I think Swann was a very fine bowler but I don't think he was ever twice as good as Murali which is what the stats in Australia suggest.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on August 6, 2014, 6:10 GMT

    Lyon is Australia's best spinner (over 100 Test wickets now ...thats quite high for an Aust off spinner) so they are looking at him in ODI's ahead of next years World Cup. Nothing wrong with that. Would imagine previously they quite rightly wanted him to concentrate on Tests. Australia dont have many other options though Muirhead may also be looked at ... and maybe Boyce in the future. It IS hard to develop spinners in Australia as the conditions rarely suit and you have to be outstanding (ie a Warne) to emerge. I would be interested to see the figures of most other world spinners IN Australia. As I recall Murali averaged about 70 per wicket and Swann 29.99.

  • dummy4fb on August 6, 2014, 5:25 GMT

    don't be surprised CricketChat when one of those big teams crumbles to a zimbabwe attack, on a good day zimbabwe can crash any of those.

  • dunger.bob on August 6, 2014, 2:46 GMT

    @ The Cranky One: I can't name a world class SLA from here. Not a one. Also, while Mallet and Bruce were undoubtedly two of the best offies we've ever produced I'm pretty sure that neither is particularly famous outside of Australia and my question was directed at a South African. I'm willing to bet the only Aussie spinner of any flavour he could name is Warne. Why, well, because they're few and far between aren't they. .. which is all I wanted to point out actually.

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