Australia’s spin master Lyon relishes Babar Azam challenge

Australia's spin master Lyon relishes Babar Azam challenge
Pakistan’s players exercise during a practice session at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on March 2, 2022, ahead of the first Test match between Pakistan and Australia. (Photo: AFP)
ISLAMABAD — Australian spin great Nathan Lyon said Wednesday he was relishing the challenge of bowling against one of the world’s top batsmen, Babar Azam, in the first Test against Pakistan starting this week.اضافة اعلان

The 34-year-old is the highest wicket-taker in the Australia squad with 415 from 105 Tests, and boasts a record of 95 victims in 19 matches across Asia.

Azam is the world’s number one batsman in one-day internationals as well Twenty20s, and is ranked ninth in the Test rankings.

“I have always said from day one of my career that I want to compete against the best players in the world, and Babar is definitely one of those guys,” Lyon told a video news conference.

Azam is the linchpin in Pakistan’s often vulnerable batting line-up that also has veteran Azhar Ali and the hard-working Fawad Alam.

“I can’t wait to challenge myself, but there are some unbelievable batters in this Pakistan line-up that I am going to have some decent challenges with.

“To be honest, my mindset in every game I go into is to win and not go into to draw or lose it, so my mindset is to be here in Pakistan and win 3-0.”

Lyon said Australia are on a high after thumping England 4-0 in the Ashes earlier this year.

“I think it’s a very young and exciting Australian Test squad that will go here coming off from a pretty spectacular summer back home and that’s given the group a lot of confidence.”

He likened the Rawalpindi stadium pitch to the ones Australia played against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in 2018.

“There is not much grass on it. I am expecting it to be pretty good to bat on for the first couple of days and then hopefully spin and reverse swing may come into it,” he added.

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