Home » Nathan Lyon makes deeply self-reflective admission

Nathan Lyon makes deeply self-reflective admission

Nathan Lyon’s series-ending calf injury was a flashpoint of last year’s Ashes that flipped the complexion of the contest on its head.

With the all-time great Australian spinner in the side, the visitors were 2-0 up after epic matches at both Edgbaston and Lord’s.

Of the three games thereafter, missing Lyon, Australia lost two and would have been smashed in a third if not for rain forcing a draw at Manchester.

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The veteran tweaker’s impact on the side is without question and the Aussie side felt his absence heavily.

But no one took it harder than the man himself who, until tearing his calf fielding a ball on Day 4 at Lord’s, had never missed a game of cricket due to injury in his life.

Lyon was immediately taken from the field in the arms of team physio Nick Jones, hobbling his way to the boundary before collapsing on the ground.

He played no further part in the game in his own domain, with the ball, but courageously came out to bat late on Day 4, partnering with Mitchell Starc to put on a crucial 15-run stand.

Quickly ruled out for the remainder of the series, Lyon headed home to begin his recovery — and painfully watched the rest of the series from the couch.

Nathan Lyon was helped off the field by Nick Jones. Nathan Lyon was helped off the field by Nick Jones.
Nathan Lyon was helped off the field by Nick Jones. Credit: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

It’s during that period, he admits, that he was at his worst.

“I probably wasn’t the nicest person or the greatest husband throughout that time when I was back home watching the last three Test matches as well. But we got through it,” he told 7NEWS.com.au.

Lyon’s wife, Emma, was the first person whose voice he wanted to hear after going down with what he immediately knew was a serious injury.

“I was able to get in contact with Emma and I was able to have a chat to her, which was nice and comforting,” he said.

“She sees me at my highs, she sees me at my lows, probably more than anyone. To have her support, there’s nothing else that comes close to that in the world.

“I’m very grateful for Em and what she’s been able to do for me, especially throughout my career.”

Lyon’s injury is one of the most emotional moments of the latest season of The Test documentary, released on Friday.

Lyon was in tears inside the dressing room after suffering the injury. Lyon was in tears inside the dressing room after suffering the injury.
Lyon was in tears inside the dressing room after suffering the injury. Credit: Amazon Prime Video

Resigned to the fact he would miss the rest of the series, the country’s greatest ever off-spinner was filmed bursting into tears in the Aussie dressing rooms.

“You’re thinking the worst,” Lyon said in the documentary.

“You’re thinking, ‘S***, is your career done?’ But more importantly, you’re thinking of letting my teammates down.”

Speaking to 7NEWS.com.au, Lyon said he held serious fears about his future in that moment.

“It’s pretty raw emotion and there’s a lot of fear, a lot of fear right there,” he said.

“Because obviously it was my 100th consecutive Test match, and the first time I’d ever been injured. First time ever in my whole career, even going back to juniors, that I was ever going to miss a game due to injury.

“I was hobbling back with the physio and I’m like, ‘I don’t know how bad this is — is this just in my head? Is this career-ending? What is it? How bad is it? What do we do?’

“But I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve had incredible family and medical support around me to get me back into full fitness and get me through the rehab journey.

“There was a lot of raw emotion there, and I just right then knew how big it was in the context of the whole series.”

Lyon still batted despite being significantly injured. Lyon still batted despite being significantly injured.
Lyon still batted despite being significantly injured. Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Incredibly, the ultimate team man still came out to bat in the next innings, effectively refusing not to.

“For me, it was as simple as, ‘OK, you’re going out to bat’,” he said.

“My wife, Em, hated it, didn’t want me to bat, Pat didn’t want me to bat, physio didn’t want me to bad — but luckily enough the head coach Andrew McDonald wanted me to bat. So, I was able to tick that off, and as soon as they said ‘Yep, you’re batting’, I was able to find a way I was going to compete.

“I just understand in Ashes cricket how big 10-15 runs are and I hate letting people down.

“Going back to when I did my calf, one of the biggest emotions was probably that I’ve let down my teammates. So, I just wanted to help them out in some way, I needed to be able to do something.”

When he eventually limped off the ground after being dismissed for four, Lyon received a standing ovation from the crowd, and widespread love from around the cricket world.

“I didn’t realise the enormity of it and the amount of respect I was shown at the time,” Lyon said.

“It was actually a nice moment, sitting back now in the big scheme of things, realising the respect that the English and Australian fans, and cricket fans around the world showed me — it’s something I’m pretty proud about.”