Australia star Lyon laughs off 2020 Ashes prospect

Nathan Lyon

Australia spinner Nathan Lyon laughed off the idea of playing red ball cricket in England this year – but it appears to be an increasing possibility.

The Australians are scheduled for a white-ball tour of England in September for three One Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals – but speculation is swirling it could be extended.

England are scheduled to play Pakistan in a similar series in August and early September, but the future of that tour is in limbo after 10 Pakistani players tested positive for coronavirus this week.

England director of cricket Ashley Giles said on Tuesday if the Pakistan series couldn’t proceed, they’d look at the possibility of extending Australia’s tour, potentially to include red ball cricket.

“Sounds like England want the Ashes back ASAP,” Lyon joked when speaking to the media in Sydney on Wednesday morning.

Lyon, a veteran of 96 Tests with 390 Test wickets to his name, preferred not to be drawn on the topic, instead deferring to the “decision makers above”.

“There’s so many balls up in the air that there’s different options of cricket,” Lyon said.

“The ICC, England, Australia and everyone are trying to find the best possible way to get cricket back playing around the world. I’m not qualified.”

Nathan Lyon Australia PA

The 32-year-old was eager to reiterate to the attending journalists that he wasn’t across potential international fixtures in the media, preferring to talk about his first legitimate pre-season in 10 years.

However, he made it clear that he wants to be part of Australia’s tour of England in September, as he holds on to his dream of playing international white ball cricket.

Lyon may hold the record for most wickets of any Australian off-spinner, but he has only managed to play 29 One Day Internationals in green and gold, with the younger Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar usually preferred, along with Xavier Doherty previously.

“I’m still putting my hand up for selection in white ball cricket,” Lyon said.

“That’s one area where I want to be. I want to be part of that tour. I just need to keep working really hard here at New South Wales.

“It’s going to be hard to put my hand up without any games but all I can do is make sure I’m training really hard here and giving good feedback to the Australian selectors.”

Lyon added that England’s upcoming Test series against the West Indies had given him the “itch” back – and he will monitor the series closely.

“I dare say I’ll put Kayo on and make sure the game is on the TV,” the right-handed off-break bowler said.

“I’m trying to learn and watch different players go about their business.

“I’m looking forward to some cricket being played. I’m starting to get the itch back now.”

By Ben Somerford, follow him on Twitter here