Image courtesy of: The Mirror
“There’s no point hiding it, we’re here to win the Ashes back”
Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon has announced that the baggy greens are confident and “can’t wait” to get their hands on England when the first Ashes Test gets underway on November 21 in Brisbane.
Lyon added that Australia are willing to “fight” to the very end in order to ensure England do not retain the Ashes for the fourth time in a row, a feat which they have accomplished since the 1890s.
“As far as I’m concerned, and from Australia’s point of view, we’re really up for the fight already,” Lyon said. “I don’t really care what England are doing, I don’t even know where they are and I don’t care where they are, to be honest.
“We have an Australian unit here, we got together today, and the feeling is really good at the moment. We can’t wait for Thursday.
“As a group, we’ve got a big belief that we can knock off the English. There’s no point hiding it, we’re here to win the Ashes back.
“We’re pretty lucky that, coming off a losing Ashes series, we get the chance to win that as a group here in Australia, so we’re looking forward to it.”
When asked about whether all-rounder Shane Watson will be able to bowl in the first Test, Lyon said: “Shane Watson’s a vital member of our side with bat and ball, everyone knows that. He’s doing a lot of work with our physio so, fingers crossed, he’ll be right for the first Test.”
During the last Ashes series, England’s batsmen were able to muster up some high scores, but Lyon is confident Australia have what it takes to silence them this time round.
“I love the challenge of bowling to a couple of the best players in the world, no matter who they are,” he said. “We’re going to target all 11 cricketers that come out and represent England.
“We don’t know if (Michael) Carberry’s going to be playing, we’ll have to wait and see come Thursday morning, then we’re definitely going to be targeting all the English players who come out.
“I’m confident in my own skill set to get the job done. We’re tight as a group here and our bowling group is really strong. We don’t mind who takes a wicket, as long as we take 20 wickets in a Test match. Our bowling is strong and really going well, and we can’t wait to get stuck in.”
Lyon has a fabulous record bowling at the Gabba as he has taken 11 wickets at a brilliant average of 24.09 in the two Tests he has played there.
The off-spinner also revealed that he has no problems bowling on a surface that offers more assistance to the pace bowlers.
“That’s going to have to come down to the conditions,” Lyon said. “If it’s turning a lot I’ll be more attacking, but if it’s not turning as much and if it’s seaming I might be thrown the ball to do a containing and holding role so we can rotate our fast men from the other end and try to create some pressure. That’s going to be game-dependent, and talking to Pup (Clarke) when and if that circumstance arises.
“I’m happy to do whatever role it takes for Australia to win a Test match. I’m all for the team, I don’t care who’s taking the wickets. If Ryan Harris takes five and six wickets, I take none for the game and we win the Test match I’m over the moon. I’m happy with whatever role Michael Clarke comes up with and hopefully I’ll be able to take that and help get wickets from both ends.”
Lyon also could not describe what winning the Ashes in front of his fellow Australians would mean to him.
“Words can’t describe it,” he said. “We sit down as a group, or even in couples, and just talk about how good it will be when we win the Ashes.
“We’re excited to be a part of it and we can’t wait to really put it to the English and hopefully return the urn.
“We are confident. We’re the Australian cricket team coming out to represent our country to play the English. As a kid growing up, that’s your dream.”