“The best part about being part of this bowling attack, I don’t actually get the chance to bowl to [numbers] nine, 10 or 11 much … with Mitch Starc in the side and these guys.
“I just want to go out there and enjoy my cricket and try and get better each and every day and not worry whether my stats are going to stack up.”
Speaking on Fox Cricket through the first Test against Pakistan, Warne said Lyon had been “terrific” for Australia and could still improve to the point of breaking his record.
“He’s still got a lot more Test match cricket in him. He’s 32 so if they play 12-15 Test matches a year and if he takes 59 or 60 wickets a year, in another five or six years, he’ll be No.1,” he said.
Lyon has been a dominant figure in world cricket over the past two years, claiming 63 wickets at 23.55 in 11 Tests in 2017 and 49 at 34.02 in 10 Tests last year. He has 30 at 37.86 in nine Tests this year and will need to finish the summer off strongly in the second and final Test against Pakistan, under lights in Adelaide from Friday, and through the three Tests against New Zealand to match last year’s haul.
The International Cricket Council’s future tours program is unlikely to do him any favours, for there is only a two-Test series in Bangladesh through the Australian winter. In saying that, the clever off-spinner did enjoy 22 wickets at 14.31 in two Tests there in 2017.
“Shane Warne is the greatest ever cricketer to play the game in my eyes, especially in [my] bowling eyes. I would struggle to see how I am going to get there [Warne’s record],” Lyon said.
His immediate focus is securing a series win over Pakistan, and finding a way to dismiss Babar Azam cheaply. Lyon did have the slick strokemaker caught behind attempting to drive a quicker delivery in the second innings at the Gabba but it wasn’t before Babar had enjoyed his second Test century.
“He is a world class player and he has got the ability to conquer all areas around the world in all conditions. We are going to have to plan well. But there are a lot other guys as well. I think Azar Ali, their captain, he is one of the best players in the world, also [Asad] Shafiq as well. They have a really good balance in their side,” Lyon said.
“We are going to make sure we prepare well here in Adelaide with the pink ball. I think the pink ball is going to provide a couple of new challenges. If we can be patient enough and challenge their defence for long periods of time, hopefully we will create a few chances.”
Lyon spent Wednesday morning in the Adelaide Oval nets working with cricketers who are blind, deaf or intellectually disabled, as part of his role as an ambassador for the National Cricket Inclusion Championships. It’s a role he has relished for several years, and one in which he and the players share tremendous fulfillment.
“[It’s] much harder bowling to these guys – these guys hit me for six for fun,” he said, grinning, when asked if Babar was a tougher opponent.
“It’s pretty special you come out here and muck around with these guys, have a bit of fun. Hopefully, I have made a couple of guys’ days.”
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.