Michael Clarke Criticizes CA’s Decision to Limit Nathan Lyon’s County Championship 2024 Stint

Former Test captain Michael Clarke has raised concerns over Cricket Australia’s decision to limit Nathan Lyon’s County Championship stint with Lancashire to seven games.

He says he would prefer to watch Lyon bowl in first-class cricket than practice at home in Australia.

Michael Clarke Criticizes CA’s Decision to Limit Nathan Lyon’s County Championship 2024 Stint

Given that Australia’s next Test match is not until November 22, Michael Clarke, Nathan Lyon’s first Test captain, has questioned Cricket Australia’s decision to limit his County Championship stint with Lancashire to just seven games. Clarke says it “doesn’t make sense” if Nathan Lyon is simply going to return home to complete a pre-season.

After speaking with Australia’s selectors, Lyon, 36, had originally committed to Lancashire to play all three formats of cricket for the entire 2024 season. However, that commitment was later trimmed to just the first half of the season and red-ball cricket exclusively.

The first game of the season washed out, leaving Lyon bowling just two overs and available for just six more of the next eight overs under the guidelines set out by CA, although the club were hopeful that would be adjusted. Lyon expressed his “pretty disappointment” at the restrictions, and Lancashire were left even more frustrated.

In his criticism of CA’s choice to end Lyon’s stay in England, Clarke stated that he could understand the decision if Lyon had been an all-rounder or a fast bowler rather than a spinner.

“We’ve seen in his career he’s a much better bowler the more he bowls,” Clarke stated. “I would rather that he play cricket instead of, like, returning home to play pre-season? Try to complete a 2 km time trial and rip your calf or hamstring? I don’t understand this; what’s the difference? Rather than playing nine games, he’s only playing seven. Though I’m sure Lyno would prefer to continue bowling, I’d rather to see him continue playing. He acts in that manner. It’s his specialty.”

Callum Ferguson, a former batter for Australia, expressed similar disapproval of the choice.

“I find this to be incredibly unpleasant. I detest it “stated Ferguson. “If he believes it will benefit his career the most, I would love to see him given the chance to play the entire season. Since we all know how important the Ashes are to us, I believe that giving him the chance to control the Dukes ball for an entire season and learn as much as he can about as many facilities across the nation will put him in better form the next time he visits for an Ashes series.”

George Bailey, the chair of Australia’s selectors, stated last month that the decision was taken with an eye toward the upcoming summer, when the team would play seven Test matches in less than three months, five at home against India and two in Sri Lanka.

Bailey remarked, “It’s still a really great outcome.” “But just having that conversation—actually, occasionally raising the players’ gaze to give them a longer-term perspective on the situation and ensuring that they are fully fit to play when the Australian matches are scheduled. However, we don’t always do it [with every player].”

Also Read: Australia-India Five Test Blockbuster to Take Place in Late November

Michael Clarke Criticizes CA’s Decision to Limit Nathan Lyon’s County Championship 2024 Stint

In an effort to prevent injuries, the selectors and the Sport Science Sport Medicine [SSSM] team of CA’s high-performance team closely track the total number of first-class matches that some of their senior players participate in.

After playing just two first-class games in Sri Lanka during the winter of 2022, Lyon participated in 12 first-class matches during the summer of 2022–2023, which included a trip to India.

Prior to the 2023 World Test Championship final and the Ashes, he had two months off between the 2023 India tour, where he ended the series bowling 65 overs in the fourth Test. However, he severely injured his calf in the opening innings at Lord’s, which altered the course of the series, after bowling 53 overs in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston and taking eight wickets to win the contest.

Since they lost every Test in the series without Lyon, the selectors saw how crucial he was to the team. The selectors’ desire to keep him well and fit has only grown stronger due to his desire to play till the 2027 Ashes.

While Lyon was well enough to play the first three of the six Sheffield Shield matches that New South Wales had prior to the commencement of the Test summer against Pakistan, which lasted for three and a half months, Australia played seven Tests in total during that time.

Up to five Shield matches are scheduled prior to the Border-Gavaskar trophy competition in the summer of 2020. The selectors reasoned that Lyon, who turns 37 in November, would have played 30 first-class matches in a 12-month period, including 24 in the calendar year 2024 alone, if he were permitted to play all 14 of Lancashire’s Championship matches plus the first five Shield matches. This would have occurred without a significant break before the Border-Gavaskar series began.

Throughout his career, Lyon has never participated in more than 22 first-class matches in a calendar year and has only done so twice. He was 26 years old in 2013 and 28 years old in 2015 when he played in the Ashes.

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