Nathan Lyon's journey from a ground staff to Australia's best off-spinner

Happy Birthday to the off-spinner who was once a Groundsman
Happy Birthday to the off-spinner who was once a Groundsman
Saurabh Ganguly

Born on 20 November 1987 in New South Wales, Australian cricketer Nathan Lyon is celebrating his 31st Birthday today. Lyon has made his name as one of best Aussie spinner of all-time. When it comes to Test Cricket, there is no one like Lyon in that Aussie dressing room. The way the right-handed cricketer has performed in the previous few years is quite commendable.

However, it is a matter of fortune that Lyon is representing Australia on the cricket field, otherwise, he would have been working at the Adelaide Cricket Ground as a ground staff and Australia would have lost a gem of a bowler in Red Ball Cricket.

Here are some interesting and lesser-known facts about Nathan Lyon:

Prepared pitches at the Adelaide Cricket Ground

Lyon celebrating after a stunning debut performance
Lyon celebrating after a stunning debut performance

Although it may come across as a shock to many but the truth is that Lyon had never dreamt of playing cricket professionally. He was content with his job as a Ground staff at the Adelaide Cricket Ground and was responsible for taking care and preparing pitches for International and domestic games.

Nathan had never trained for his off-spin bowling. One day when he found a bowl near him, he casually went and started bowling at the wicket. The bowl spun considerably. Darren Berry, coach of the Big Bash Franchise Redbacks noticed Lyon’s delivery and asked him to bowl once again. When Lyon was able to turn his next delivery as well, Berry persuaded him to start training.

This professional training changed fortunes for Nathon Lyon and he never looked back, performing consistently in the opportunities that he got. Lyon seemed a better bowler with each match and coach Berry’s confidence in him was clearly paying off.

His performances soon earned him a place in the Australian Team and within no time he had cemented his place, going on to become one of Australia’s best off-spinners and very effective in a country which has often boasted of its leg spinners and pace bowlers.

The most successful Australian off-spinner

Lyon picked up Sangakkara in his first ball at the International Level
Lyon picked up Sangakkara in his first ball at the International Level

Nathon Lyon had played his first ever first-class match in February 2011. On the back of his impressive performances, he found himself in the national team within 6 months of making his first-class debut.

The offie made his debut in August against Sri Lanka and in his very first ball of the first ever international match that he had played, he picked up the wicket- wicket of one of the opposition’s biggest players Kumar Sangakkara.

A player who had just made his first-class debut six months prior to his first International game would do such a wonder in his debut Test was something that many Cricket experts had never imagined. Lyon took as many as 6 wickets in the game and impressed one and all with his performance.

In Test Cricket, Lyon has the most wickets by an Australian spinner. As per data, he has 318 Test Wickets to his credit in 80 Test Matches.

Edited by Rajdeep Puri


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