'I want to play all three formats' - Lyon
Before Monday, offspinner Nathan Lyon had played 33 Tests and two ODIs for Australia. On Monday, 29 months after his previous ODI, he did not have the most effective of comebacks in the Zimbabwe triangular series, conceding 42 runs in seven overs while the hosts bowled out for just 152. His one-day bowling, Lyon explained on the eve of Australia's match against South Africa, was a "work in progress", and he said that he still wants to play all three formats for Australia.
"I was pretty nervous and excited, playing again after two years. The main aim was to try and help Australia to victory, and the challenge now is to back it up against South Africa tomorrow," Lyon said. "I want to play all three formats for Australia. I'm just always looking forward to the next opportunity. The main message I have received from the coaches is to work on my consistency. I have also been working on different variations, so it's currently a work in progress."
In his 33 Tests, Lyon has 112 wickets at 32.99, and that experience he said is a plus for him as he tries to showcase his ODIs skills to the selectors ahead of the 2015 World Cup. "I've had a few different challenges at Test level. In ODIs, things are a lot more compact and things happen a lot quicker. But I feel I've grown as a player and my experiences in Tests have definitely helped me."
It has also helped him having Muttiah Muralitharan around, he said. Murali, who has been signed on as Australia's coaching consultant for this year's Test series against Pakistan in the UAE, had worked with Lyon in Sri Lanka a couple of months ago, reportedly helping him develop a carrom ball. "Listening to Murali provides you with confidence," Lyon said. "He backed me up by saying that my skill set was heading in the right way. Getting such a compliment from him is very special."
Lyon said he expects South Africa to try and go after him, and he is prepared. "South Africa are a world class side, so it's going to be a great challenge. We need to put our best foot forward," he said. "There's no doubt they're going to target me, but I'm ready for it. It's a good opportunity for me to take some wickets."