Nathan Lyon, the prime Aussie off-spinner, dropped hints for his team to avoid complacency. A while back, Lyon, who is popularly known as ‘the Goat’, had grabbed the headlines through his audacious comments about ending the careers of some of the English players.
In his recent statements, though, in what clearly seems to be a balancing act, Lyon said, “We respect the English, we know they’re going to come back bigger and better and stronger. It’s not going to be a walk in the park.”
However, Lyon refused to speak about Stokes who has recently flown to New Zealand. With speculations abuzz that Stokes may join the English squad some time or the other, it was expected that Lyon may comment on the same but he did not even budge to these questions. Rather, he tried to restore the values of gentleman’s game through his ‘respecting the opposition’ statement.
The off-spinner never shies away from a word or two in his quest to spice things up a little. However, going against the flow this time, Lyon conceded the quality of the English cricketers, while taking into account that any good team hits back whenever taken lightly.
Talking to reporters in Adelaide, Lyon said, “One of the dangerous little periods is when teams are far down or in turmoil if you want to call it that – I don’t think they are. If you don’t respect a team, that’s when they can come back and bite you. We can’t sit on our hands and just think it’s going to happen again.”
Amidst the Bairstow-Bancroft headbutt incident and the Stokes controversy, England’s hopes of winning the Ashes have taken several blows. Lyon showed no signs of relenting and urged the Aussies to further tighten the screws on the English.
Lyon emphasised on preparation before the second Test match and said that he expects the team to keep playing the brand of cricket they did in the first match. As he put it, “We have just got to go out there and prepare the way the Australian team prepares and make sure come day one of this Test match, we’re firing and hopefully carrying on from where we left off in Brissy (Brisbane).”
The 30-year-old, who had five dismissals to show for his deceptive bowling (in the first match), did not back-off from his pre-series comments. “I don’t know about the villain,” he said sarcastically,“But that is the Australian way. I’m here to play cricket, I’m here to represent my country and do that the best possible way.”
Lyon further said that cricket is a game after all, and it’s not about spooking out any individual. “I like it when opposition guys try to attack me and try to whack me out of the attack, if you’re talking about batting against a spin bowler. It’s a part of the game, name of the game is to take wickets and score runs, so no doubt England will come prepared and they’ll have a different plan for me compared to what they did in the first Test,” said Lyon, trying to infuse life into the Ashes through his statements.
A version of this post was first published here.