Nathan Lyon has shot down calls for him to take rest in order to allow legspinner Mitchell Swepson to make his Test debut in Sydney. Spin legend Shane Warne has made the suggestions that Lyon could make way for Swepson in the third and final Test against New Zealand with Australia already having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead.
In a sharp retort, Lyon asked whether Warne himself ever took rest to give his contemporary Stuart MacGill a chance to play and that he would rather have Swepson bowl alongside him.
“Did Warney ever want a rest and give Stuart MacGill a go? I won’t be resting,” Lyon said after Australia completed a 247-run win in Melbourne on Sunday. “There’s always talk about two spinners, but Mitch has been bowling brilliantly for Queensland. It’s great we’re able to have a very versatile squad for whatever conditions we’re faced with we can come up with a decent side.”
MacGill, a legspinner, served mostly as Warne’s replacement in the Australia XI whenever the latter was unavailable.
Swepson was added to Australia squad for the Sydney Test after taking 12 wickets from six Sheffield Shield matches at 26.58. He was earlier part of the Aussie squads for the tours of India and Bangladesh in 2017 and is yet to play a Test.
Opening up on his conversation with the 26-year-old leggie, Lyon said, “He’s a great fella to start off with and he gives it a rip which is what I really love to see about all spinners. If we can give it a rip and try and spin the ball, that’s our main focus. I’m a big fan of Mitch, it’s great to see him around the squad. If he gets his chance, fingers crossed we can have a great combination together.”
Lyon, Australia’s most succesfull offspinner in Test history, is excited at the potential prospect of teaming up with Swepson. “I don’t think it affects my role at all. It’s exciting we potentially have the opportunity to play two spinners but in saying that I haven’t been to the SCG for two months so don’t know what the conditions will be like. The BBL wickets they look like they have been fantastic,” Lyon said.
“I had some really good chats with him during the week sitting on the boundary and watching him bowl in the nets,” Lyon said. “I actually haven’t seen him bowl in a game for a while. He seems really clear in his plans and we spoke about not changing when he gets the opportunity at the highest level. What’s worked is what has got him to the level, if he gets the opportunity I just said ‘stay strong to yourself, back yourself, what’s worked in state cricket if you give it a long enough chance in international cricket you’ll get some reward’.Legspinners bring different opportunities to the game. I really enjoy bowling with another spinner. We get to get through our overs quite quickly and feel like we can build pressure.”