Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon sees the remainder of the Big Bash League as the ideal way to prove to national selectors he is more than just a red-ball bowler.
After starring for South Australia in the 2010-11 edition of the BBL, where Lyon finished with 11 wickets and was equal highest wicket-taker alongside Blues paceman Pat Cummins, Lyon has been consistently overlooked by Australian selectors in the short form of the game.
Since making his Test debut in August 2011, Lyon has made only two one-day international appearances, the most recent in March 2012, and while he is hopeful of a recall to the Australian ODI squad before the ODI World Cup next year, Lyon is pragmatic about his chances considering the strength of the team.
"The ODI side is a great side at the moment, but like anyone who wants to play cricket for Australia you have to perform at state level to put your hand up," Lyon said.
"I want to play every format of cricket for Australia . . . so this is my opportunity. It's going to be a good challenge but it's all in my control."
As a bowler known more for accuracy, guile and containment than for prodigious spin, Lyon said he looked forward to showing he could adapt his game to the helter-skelter nature of the Big Bash, starting with the Sydney Sixers' clash with Perth Scorchers on Friday night. "Spin to win – that's what I've been trying to drill into Steve [Smith, Sydney Sixers captain] for a while there," Lyon said. "Spinners do play a massive role in T20 cricket. Everyone thinks they can come after you and it's a good challenge, so it's going to be exciting, that's for sure."
When asked whether "Jeff", his mystery ball that spins the other way, has been retired after a rare sightings during the Ashes, Lyon pointed to the success of Australia's much-celebrated pace attack.
"We didn't need him," he said. "We were lucky enough to have Mitchell Johnson up the other end, so I didn't need to bring out Jeff, but we'll see how we go and see if there are any variations here and there that I can bowl, so it's going to be a good challenge [playing in the Big Bash]."
One man looking to ensure Lyon does not settle into the change of format is Perth Scorchers captain Simon Katich. Speaking to reporters at the SCG on Thursday, Katich said the Scorchers had been "fortunate" to win in a couple of tight games this season, and they must improve if they are to have any chance of making the semi-finals.
"The guys are happy with where we're at but we're also realistic to know we've won games we shouldn't have," he said. "We're also aware that if we start to get things right, particularly with the bat, we can make things a little bit easier for ourselves."