Nathan Lyon interview | On batting on one leg, ‘The Test’ and IPL 2024

Watch | Nathan Lyon interview | On batting on one leg, ‘The Test’ and IPL 2024

Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon reminisces about the latest season of Amazon Prime Video’s ‘The Test’, a docu-series on the Australian cricket team’s journey

Updated - May 25, 2024 04:17 pm IST

Published - May 24, 2024 04:25 pm IST

Nathan Lyon hobbles and limps gingerly as he walks out to bat to a cheering audience at the Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Batting on one leg and visibly in discomfort due to a calf injury, Nathan would go on to add four off 13 excruciating balls in one of the most dramatic cricketing moments as part of the England-Australia clash for the Ashes 2023.

Nathan Lyon in ‘The Test’

Nathan Lyon in ‘The Test’ | Photo Credit: Prime Video

Nathan’s wife, Emma, did not want him to bat under such circumstances. Nor did his captain, Pat Cummins, or the team’s physio. Luckily, head coach Andrew McDonald wanted him to, and Nathan knew right away that he would find a way.

“A lot of people around the world go to work uncomfortable. I know the importance of 10 to 15 runs in an Ashes, and I wanted to contribute. When I had a calf injury, I felt like I had let down my teammates and I just wanted to make sure that I help them out by playing a role,” says Nathan, over a virtual conversation, about a vital moment that is also chronicled in the The Test Season 3, currently streaming on Prime Video.

The Australian cricket team in ‘The Test’

The Australian cricket team in ‘The Test’ | Photo Credit: Prime Video

The current season of The Testfollows the Australian men’s cricket team as they embark on a gruelling tour of England in 2023, where they faced India in the World Test Final and took on England in the Ashes. Apart from cricketing moments, The Test also gives a peek into locker-room talk and how players navigate the challenges of balancing sport at the highest level, and their family life. “There are superstars on the team, like Steve Smith and David Warner, but we’re all human, and we see that element coming out in The Test. It’s important for everyone to realise that we make mistakes but we also try our best to go out there and win some games.”

Such documentaries chronicle not just sporting moments, but also provide insights into sportspersons’ lives and how they deal with success and loss. Nathan agrees, “It’s massive, mate. I watch a lot of such stuff, like Quarterback, Full Swing and Tour de France: Unchained. My favourite is the Formula 1 documentary, Drive to Survive. There are great insights into the way individuals prepare for big moments, and that makes for some amazing viewing for fans.”

Spin is in

Growing up in Australia, known to produce fast-bowlers of pedigree such as Glenn Mcgrath, Brett Lee and Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon still wanted to get into spin, a skill that you would largely associate with the subcontinent. He idolised late Australian legendary spinner Shane Warne. “Well, my brother (Brendan Lyon) and I idolised Shane Warne. Seeing him win games for Australia was so special, and so, Brendan took up leg spin. I just wanted to be bigger and better than my brother.”

Today, Nathan, with over 500 wickets to his name, is considered Australia’s most successful offspinner and he loves it when the ball spins. “I’ve been watching the IPL a fair bit now, and if I’m being honest, I’d like to see the wickets to come back a little bit to see a fair contest between bat and ball. Spin is incredibly important in all formats of cricket. Whenever the ball spins, you get the maximum eyes on the television. When we tour India for Test cricket and the ball spins, I feel there are more people watching than anytime else. I absolutely love it when the ball spins and see some batsmen panic. Ravi Ash (Ravichandran Ashwin) has flown the flag for that one in the IPL now and hopefully, he will do a great job with that,” says Nathan, who is also keenly watching his skipper, Pat Cummins, captain Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins in ‘The Test’

Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins in ‘The Test’ | Photo Credit: Prime Video

While he is not part of the IPL, Nathan swears by the five-day Test format, something that he describes as the ‘pinnacle of cricket.’ “For me, it is a place where you cannot hide. If you cannot play the short ball, you cannot hide. You have to ensure that your skillsets are good enough to compete against the best in the world. T-20 and one-day cricket are here, and Test cricket, well, is miles above.”

The Test: Season 3 is currently streaming on Prime Video

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