Nathan not Lyon around ahead of a milestone Ashes summer

Spinner Nathan Lyon is prepared for another big Ashes summer in pursuit of 400 test wickets. (Photo/Cricket Australia).

Having been on the cusp of 400 test wickets for nearly a year, Nathan Lyon has had time to reflect on his career and set goals for the twilight years. First up: beat England this summer, and reach the milestone in the process.

He’s been an important member of Australia’s test side ever since debuting against Sri Lanka in 2011, and the off-spinner is one breakthrough away from pushing further into rare air with wicket number 400.

“Obviously it’s been on my mind for a while since that last test against India, but I’m more worried about the whole series and playing my role so that we can win and retain the Ashes,” Lyon said.

“There’s some milestones for people around the corner, but it’s more about the team success for me.”

It’s no surprise that Lyon is so team-oriented on the eve of another Ashes campaign – the New South Welshman has forged his career on a selfless approach that benefits the team. While being able to go away and set goals for the final stage of his test playing days, Lyon came back with goals solely related to the entire 11.

“It’s given myself a good chance to reflect and reset some goals and where I can get to – I’ve had time to think about it and I’m excited about the challenges that lay ahead,” he said.

“The two I’ll share with you are winning a test series in India and winning a test series in England outright.

“I’ve had time to work on things, and I’m confident where my skills are at, so they’re the goals on the radar.”

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In terms of the captaincy void, Lyon wouldn’t have been remiss for throwing his hat into the ring. As the most experienced member of the team, he would be a prime candidate if he wanted to challenge for the leadership.

Yet the off-spinner harbours no leadership dreams, and will be happy with whoever Cricket Australia choose as the side’s next skipper.

“If I put my hand up for the captaincy it’d mean I would have to hand over leading the team song, and I’d rather lead it so I’m more than happy for Pat Cummins and Steve Smith to put their hands up, I’ll keep mine down,” Lyon said.

“The two guys being interviewed are the best two candidates in my eyes – I’ve got no dramas with both of them putting their hands up for the captaincy.”

Lyon’s endorsement proved fruitful, as Cummins was today named the 47th Test captain of Australia, Smith sharing the honours with the vice captaincy.

Raring to get out of quarantine in the Gold Coast so he can prepare for the upcoming first Ashes test with his squad mates, Lyon has been forced to sit back and wheel away for New South Wales while watching teammates capture the men’s maiden T20 World Cup.

Although he missed out on their success, the off-spinner is grateful for the boost of energy it’s given the squad as they prepare for the all-important Ashes this summer.

“You look at the bowling cartel and how they’ve performed, it’s going to translate into test cricket after the World Cup,” he said.

“There’s a lot of confident coming off the back of that win, so I’m expecting a lot of good things to come this summer.”

“Our preparation is flying along; the mood is incredible and we’re feeling extremely confident going into an amazing summer.”

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