Nathan Lyon (above) has played all his Tests under Michael Clarke © Getty Images
Nathan Lyon (above) has played all his Tests under Michael Clarke © Getty Images

Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon has said that he has ‘much to thank’ Michael Clarke for. Lyon made his debut in Clarke’s first overseas Test series as captain four years ago in Sri Lanka, and since then the partnership between these two cricketers has remained intact. Clarke has captained Australia in 46 Tests, and Lyon has played in 45 of them. The off-spinner, who has 158 wickets to his name so far, has already established himself as Australia’s most successful off-spinner since Hugh Trumble. ALSO READ: Nathan Lyon surpasses Hugh Trumble to become Australia’s leading off-spinner

Lyon reminisced about Clarke in a column for the Sydney Morning Herald, “Michael was an unbelievable captain. The way he has held himself in the good moments and not so good moments is a credit to him. He’s been an exceptional leader. I have much to thank Michael for. His first Test as captain was my first as a player after I’d been selected with limited first-class experience, and he was great to me.” ALSO READ: Nathan Lyon congratulates England on Ashes 2015 win; praises Michael Clarke’s captaincy

The right-arm spinner recalled his debut, “We were playing Sri Lanka in Galle and he threw me the ball pretty early, which was good. It helped calm the nerves. Michael was always a big one for enjoying your cricket. You want to remember your Test debut with fondness and that you had a bit of fun.”

He continued, “Before the Test he told me, “back your skill, no matter what happens I’ve got your back”. Hearing that from your captain and a senior player really set the tone for me. I could go out and play with freedom, back myself and try and take wickets for Australia. As a captain of spin bowling he was fantastic. It definitely helped that he was one of the best players of spin in world cricket.”

Lyon said Clarke always kept pushing him to be the best. “Bowling to him in the nets was quite challenging and pushed me to try and get better against quality players of spin. Trying to figure out different ways of training against Michael has helped me immensely. On the field he understands different angles and field placements and trying to get the batters to hit the ball in different places, making them do what they do not want to do.” ALSO READ: Ashes 2015: Nathan Lyon’s role in Australia’s bowling attack extremely critical

He added, “As a young spinner coming into Test cricket Michael definitely helped my knowledge of the game. He’s one of the best guys you could hope to learn the game of cricket from, that’s for sure.”

Lyon pledged that Australia should not leave any stone unturned to be prepared fully for the final Test against England in the Ashes 2015. He wrote, “We have a bit of time off to regroup before the tour game against Northampton at the end of this week and then full-scale preparation for the Oval Test. It’s been great to have my partner Mel and our daughters Milla and Harper on tour. No matter what sort of day you’ve had on the field, you can still come home to your family.”