Lyon to boost Sixers for BBL finals

Steve Barrett |

Test star Nathan Lyon looms as the final puzzle piece in the Sydney Sixers’ historic bid for a third successive BBL crown.

Lyon’s international commitments have concluded following Australia’s 4-0 Ashes triumph over England and the veteran spinner has indicated his desire to be part of the Sixers’ finals tilt.

“He’s pretty keen to come back and always says he loves playing for us,” Sixers captain Moises Henriques said of Lyon, who captured 16 wickets at 23.56 against England.

“I’m pretty sure he’ll be available for our next game in Brisbane (on Wednesday) or the finals.

“He’s just played five Test matches pretty close together and he’s been in the bubble, so he might want three or four days to chill out and relax before he comes back, but we’ll manage that with him.”

Lyon’s likely inclusion, coupled with the sizzling form of fellow veteran tweaker Steve O’Keefe, could pave the way for the Sixers to make their charge for the silverware behind a surge of spin.

Despite capturing 10 wickets at 12.90 and a miserly economy rate of 5.86 this campaign, O’Keefe has indicated his desire to retire after the finals, describing his body as “old, fat, slow and sore”.

Henriques is doing his best to convince O’Keefe to change his mind.

“Absolutely I am,” he said. “I’ve been trying to do that every day so far.

“I face him in the nets every day, have done for 20 years, and I still can’t hit him.

“You can imagine how hard I want him to keep playing on.”

Henriques believes the Sixers missed a trick by resting O’Keefe in Monday’s eight-wicket loss to the Adelaide Strikers.

O’Keefe, 37 and still not fully recovered from a finger injury, was always going to miss either the Adelaide Oval clash or the upcoming meeting with the Heat.

“We took a risk with him playing the last game (against the Sydney Thunder last Saturday),” Henriques said.

“We would have had four games in four different cities in six days, so it’s a pretty high risk.

“He was always going to have this game or Brisbane off.

“Maybe if we had our time again we might have looked at two (spinners in Adelaide) … the spinners had a bit of success on that wicket.”