Aussie great’s sheepish 22-year confession

Nathan Lyon is on the verge of 400 Test wickets, and has guided Australia to several victories throughout his stellar 10-year international career.

He’s developed into one of cricket’s most celebrated athletes, and only sits behind modern greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath on Australia’s all-time wicket tally.

However, former Test spinner Kerry O’Keeffe has revealed he told Lyon’s parents he’d never make it as a cricketer.

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Speaking on Fox Cricket, O’Keeffe confessed he didn’t think much of Lyon’s bowling when he first encountered the off-spinner as a youngster.

“I saw him as an 11-year-old at an Orange NSW coaching clinic,” O’Keeffe said on Saturday.

“His parents said, ‘What do you think?’

“I said, ‘Has he got a tennis racquet?’

“I was a hard marker back then. I suggested tennis.

“All I saw were these two ears and a not very well spun off-spinner, and I suggested tennis.

“He has got better since then Gaz.

“It was a harsh judgment … and I was wrong.”

Nathan Lyon of Australia is bowled by Washington Sundar.Source:Getty Images

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Lyon entertained the Gabba crowd on Saturday morning with a brief cameo with the bat, plundering 24 off 22 balls in Australia’s first innings.

It was his highest Test score since the 2019 Ashes series.

Lyon became the 13th Australian to play 100 Test matches this week, a list which only features two other specialist bowlers – Warne and McGrath.

Speaking on Fox Cricket, Lyon recalled his father’s reaction upon discovering his son had been selected for Australia’s Test side to face Sri Lanka in 2011.

“I said, ‘Dad you won’t believe this’, and he said, ‘What?’ … I said, ‘I’m making my debut’,” Lyon explained.

“He goes, ‘That’s all right, at least you’ll play one game,’ and he hung up.

“I’ve since found out that he was probably too emotional to talk.

“Then I called my brother and he was speechless. Mum started crying … called my grandmother and she started crying.”

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