Nathan Lyon has been picked for Australia's ODI series against England  © Getty Images
Nathan Lyon has been picked for Australia’s ODI series against England © Getty Images

Melbourne [Australia]: After getting a surprise call-up in the national squad for the ODI series against England in the United Kingdom, Australian spinner Nathan Lyon believes he has a golden opportunity to cement his spot in the side ahead of the World Cup.The 30-year-old, who did not feature for the national side in an ODI since August 2016 in Sri Lanka, was included in the 15-man squad for next month’s five-match series against England in what seemed to be a preparation tour ahead of next year’s World Cup.

Despite being Australia’s second-highest wicket-taker among spinners in Tests after Shane Warne, Lyon has featured in just 13 ODIs in comparison to 78 matches in the longest format of the game.
And the off-spinner admitted the call-up was unexpected, especially when he recently had a conversation with selector Trevor Hohns on the final days of the controversial South Africa Test tour.

“Four weeks ago, I had a meeting with ‘Cracker’ (Hohns) in Jo’burg and he didn’t rate my chances very highly,” Lyon said today outside the Sydney Cricket Ground. But to get a phone call from Trevor Hohns last night while I was cooking dinner was a good surprise,” cricket.com.au quoted Lyon, as saying.

Insisting that playing in all three formats of the game for Australia had always been his goal for a very long time, Lyon said that he is now looking forward to use the upcoming series as a stepping stone for selection in the squad for the World Cup, to be staged in the UK in 13 months’ time.

“It’s well documented I that I want to play in all three formats for Australia, that’s my goal and has been my goal for a very long time,” he said. ”To get this opportunity and be included in the squad and to head over to England where the World Cup is being played, that’s going to be a massive advantage. Hopefully, if I get the opportunity to go out there I perform really well,” Lyon, who last faced England in the Ashes series and picked up 21 wickets, added.

On a related note, Tim Paine and Aaron Finch were named as Australia’s new ODI and T20I captain, respectively for the upcoming tours to England and Zimbabwe, in the absence of banned former skipper Steve Smith.

While Finch has also been confirmed as Paine’s deputy for the five-match ODI series in the United Kingdom, wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey has been promoted as the vice-captain for a one-off T20I in England and a T20I tri-series in Zimbabwe.

Australia are slated to play five-match ODI series against England from June 13 at The Oval before the two sides will play a lone T20I match. The new-look Australia side will then play a T20I tri-series in Zimbabwe, also featuring Pakistan.