Manuka worthy of more big games - Lyon
Nathan Lyon signs an autograph. Photo: Rohan Thomson
With Manuka Oval a week off hosting the Australian cricket team for the first time, Nathan Lyon has backed the revamped ground to host more international matches.
And he was planning to do his part to make sure it was picture perfect for Tuesday's Prime Minister's XI game against the West Indies.
The former Canberra Comet used to be a groundsman under Manuka curator Brad Van Dam and said he would drop in on his old boss to give him a hand before the oval's biggest eight days of cricket.
Construction of six new light towers has recently been completed and Lyon was keen to help Van Dam with the finishing touches.
After moving from Canberra to further his cricket, Lyon burst onto the scene with the South Australian Redbacks while also working as a groundsman at the Adelaide Oval.
It's fitting he would now help Van Dam launch his own international career.
''Not too long ago I was out here working with Brad, I'll have to go over and say hello and I might give him a hand this arvo,'' Lyon said on Monday.
It has taken the nation's capital 100 years to finally host the Australian team, with the West Indies playing a day-night, one-day international against them at Manuka next Wednesday.
While it has taken Canberra's centenary to break the duck, Lyon wants it to become a regular venue for international fixtures.
''It's exciting to have [lights at] Manuka Oval now so they can host the big events, and it's fantastic the West Indies are playing in the ODI next week,'' he said.
''It's going to be a great spectacle for the ACT crowds … I'm a big fan of Manuka Oval and I really think they should play more international cricket here.''
The off-spinner has established himself as Australia's first-choice tweaker and was entrusted by Mike Hussey to take over the team song.
Lyon will be part of the national selectors' plans for the coming four-Test tour of India in February and March. Cricket Australia has decided Phillip Hughes will miss the Manuka one-dayer to prepare for India, and Lyon backed the renewed focus on the longest form of the game.
Lyon sees Tests as the pinnacle and was glad CA felt the same way.
He also backed their controversial rotation policy - although he didn't want to miss any games. ''Test match cricket is the ultimate, it's the best form of cricket going around, it's good to see they're putting some big focus on Test-match cricket in Australia,'' Lyon said.
The 25-year-old, who is the youngest Australian off-spinner to claim 50 Test scalps, was licking his lips over the prospect of spin-friendly pitches on the sub-continent.