Prior and Vaughan criticise Nathan Lyon for ‘end careers’ jibe

By Adam Ellis

Australia spinner Nathan Lyon has caused the biggest controversy in the run-up to the Ashes series so far.

Asked whether he hoped Australia would end careers after talking about the success of the 2013/14 Ashes victory, Lyon said: “I hope so. I didn’t end any careers. Mitchell Johnson ended them.

“If you ask him he’ll say it was quite satisfying if you look at his past, the pressures the English put him under with the Barmy Army and everything.

In an extraordinary attack on England, the off-spinner did not just reserve judgment solely for England’s current crop by discussing at length the 5-0 whitewash of Alastair Cook’s side four years ago.

Lyon accused former wicketkeeper Matt Prior of trying to get out of the tour and on the plane home before the third Test in Perth because he was ‘scared’ – Prior was dropped for the last two Tests of the series by selectors.

“It was an unbelievable feeling knowing that they were broken. Leading into Perth we knew that they were, we knew Matt Prior wanted to fly home before the game started and he was one of the senior players. He was scared. It’s four years ago. I think he’s alright now.”

A comment that Prior responded to without hesitation.

In a disastrous tour for England which saw Jonathan Trott return home with stress-related illness after the first Test, and the subsequent retirement of Graeme Swann and international exile for Kevin Pietersen, Lyon recalled his joy at seeing the express pace of Mitchell Johnson take its toll.

Lyon continued his verbal onslaught saying: “Being part of that squad [in 2013-14] was unbelievable, and it’s one of my fondest series.

“Seeing Mitchell Johnson scare all the Poms was unbelievable. You could sense the fear. I was at leg slip and I nearly had to push a couple of the guys back towards the stumps!”

But what of the upcoming Ashes? For all the talk of express pace and utilising the short ball, Lyon spoke about his own prospects and the objective of getting England captain Joe Root dropped.

“I know Root got dropped last time when he was here, so it’d be good to get him dropped again wouldn’t it? If we can start by opening up that crack, it’s pretty crucial. There’s a lot of scars for the English guys, especially coming over here, especially when we have two guys bowling 150ks not just one now.”

Lyon also thinks England’s batsmen will enter the series underestimating him. “Definitely,” he said. “Ask Joe Root. He definitely does. It’s part of the game being a tiny little off-spinner who bowls at 86ks an hour, not 150. I love being the underdog.”

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