Nathan Lyon has delivered a stinging response to Shane Warne’s suggestion he could be rested from the Sydney Test to allow fellow spinner Mitchell Swepson to debut. “Did Warney ever want a rest and give Stuart MacGill a go? I won’t be rested,” said Lyon.
Swepson is a small chance to play in this week’s third Test against New Zealand, particularly if the SCG wicket is expected to turn. The Queenslander’s most likely path to a baggy green would be if selectors opted to play two spinners, as they did most recently in Sydney in 2017.
Veteran offspinner Lyon said he would embrace the chance to play alongside a frontline legspinner for the first time in his Test career – but he has no interest in sitting out for the 26-year-old.
Spin great Warne declared this week Australia should do whatever they could to get Swepson in the side with the series win already wrapped up, even if it meant Lyon missing the Test.
Warne famously fell out with former captain Steve Waugh when he was dropped for MacGill and Colin Miller to play in spin tandem in the 1999 Frank Worrell Trophy series in the Caribbean.
“I haven’t met any Australian cricketer yet who would like to be rested,” Lyon said. “It’s that hard to play Test cricket but it’s pretty rewarding as well. Any opportunity you get to play for Australia means the world to us.”
Lyon’s opportunities of playing with another spinner in Tests have been rare, although he and legspinner Adam Zampa spoke in the lead up to July’s one-day World Cup of the advantage of having two bowlers spinning the ball different ways.
“Obviously legspinners bring different opportunities to the game,” Lyon said. “I really enjoy bowling with another spinner as well. We get through our overs quite quickly and we feel like we can build some pressure here and there.
“If Sweppo does get his opportunity, to play with a legspinner would be pretty exciting. But it’s not up to me to make that call.”
Swepson toured alongside Lyon to India and Bangladesh in 2017, and can now push his claims as the country’s No 2 spinner. He trained with the team in Melbourne, and has taken 12 wickets at 26.58 in the Sheffield Shield this year.
“I had a really good couple of chats with him during the week, just sitting on the boundary there after watching him bowl in the nets,” Lyon said. “I hadn’t seen him bowl for a while, but he seems really clear on his plans.
“We just spoke about not changing when he gets the opportunity at the highest level. What’s worked has obviously got him here so if he gets his opportunity I just said ‘stay strong to yourself and back yourself’.”