Nathan Lyon tips Lancashire team-mate Tom Hartley to have a ‘big future’

Nathan Lyon has tipped new county team-mate Tom Hartley to have a “big future” and insisted he is not at Lancashire to take his place in the team.

Lancashire pulled off a major coup by signing Australia’s record-breaking off-spinner on an overseas deal, but it was immediately brought into sharp focus when Hartley surged to prominence with a match-winning second-innings haul of seven for 62 on his Test debut in Hyderabad.

Brendon McCullum, England’s red-ball head coach, admitted during the five-match series against India that it would be “mad” if Hartley and Somerset’s Shoaib Bashir were overlooked at the start of the Vitality County Championship season.

However, Lyon rejected suggestions he could stall the development of Hartley and instead believes he can pass on plenty of wisdom to the 24-year-old during his stint at Emirates Old Trafford, which was originally for the whole campaign, but has since been reduced to seven first-class games.

“I was glued to that Test series,” Lyon told reporters on Thursday.

“To see Tom go over there, make his debut and play the five Test matches, I actually watched it quite closely.

“He’s a talent, he’s only 24 and to see what he does, what I believe he can get better at, he’s got a big future ahead of him which is exciting for England cricket and world cricket as well.

“I know what Baz has come out and said in the media, and that’s all well and good – but I’m not here to take Tom’s spot. I’m here to bowl in tandem with Tom.

“If you can play two spinners in the side, in my opinion, you’ll win a lot of games of cricket. So I’m here to bowl in tandem with Tom and to be honest I’m happy to help Tom out along the way, and no doubt he’ll help me as well with different skillsets, different mindsets, tactically as well.

“There’s no secrets in what I do, so I’m more than happy to help out. If Tom calls me every day, sits down with me for a coffee every day, to talk spin bowling, I’m more than happy to do that.”

Lyon also revealed the chance to bowl alongside Ashes rival James Anderson was part of the reason for his arrival in county cricket.

He only touched down in the country on Tuesday, but went straight into the Lancashire squad for Friday’s curtain-raiser against defending champions Surrey.

Anderson, the most prolific seamer of all time, is currently resting up after his exertions in the five-match series against India but the prospect of two greats with a combined 1,230 wickets to their name is already being teased.

“That would be pretty amazing. I’d be lying if I said that opportunity coming around wasn’t a big part of the reason I signed,” Lyon told BBC Radio Lancashire.

“He’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest, fast bowler to have played the game. I’ve had some incredible battles against him.

“I admire his skill, there’s nothing but respect from my end for what he’s been able to do for English cricket but also world cricket, inspiring young boys and girls to play the game.

“If the opportunity comes around that I get to bowl in tandem with him and share a changing room with him it will be pretty special, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Lyon was set to spend the whole summer in England, but Cricket Australia made the decision to cut his spell over his workload management.

“It’s definitely not my call, that’s the nature of the beast,” he said.

“CA have come over the top and said they wanted to manage me and hopefully extend my career. My hands are tied.”