Adelaide: The last time Australia played a Test here, Nathan Lyon was a mere greenkeeper assigned to trim the outfield but come January 24, the off-spinner would be striding out of the dressing room wearing a baggy green at his home ground for the fourth and final Test against India.
Lyon was assisting curator Damian Hough in maintaining the ground for the Ashes Test between Australia and England last summer but has since come a long way as a player.
"It (last summer's Adelaide Test) was my first ever Test match and rocking up at 5.30 every morning to cut the ground was something pretty special," Lyon was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.
"It's a great place to play cricket but I'm not worrying about the greenkeeping side of things now, I'm totally focused on the Test match coming up. I've got to pinch myself, but in saying that, I've played nine Test matches now and I'm confident in my own skill-set. I will be preparing to play as everyone else will be in the squad," he added.
Hough also remembers Lyon's stint last summer. "We have other grounds we look after but he wanted to be here from the start to the end. He wanted to experience an Adelaide Oval Test," said Hough.
"He came here from Canberra with a pretty good reputation as a cricketer but also as a turfy. I thought, 'Oh well, I'll give him a go.' I knew he was a cricketer but I didn't realise he'd be playing for Australia." .
Although Lyon has just two wicket for 180 runs to show in the ongoing series, the Australian team is keen to persist with him. "I'm very excited about Nathan. I'm looking forward to seeing him bowl an extended spell in Adelaide because all our Test matches this summer have been played on seamer-friendly wickets so he hasn't had an opportunity to really shine," said coach Mickey Arthur.
"He hasn't played a major role because he just hasn't bowled enough. He's such a nice chap, he's taken everything on board and he's worked extremely hard. I am hoping he gets the rewards in Adelaide, and I'm pretty sure he will," he added.
Lyon said having a supportive captain like Michael Clarke has also helped his cause. "I've got a really good relationship with Michael Clarke," he said.
"He's a fantastic captain to play under and we've got some clear plans with my bowling. He's always told me to back my skill and do what I do best and that's be an attacking spinner rather than a defensive one, he's been awesome like that.
"If they want to come hard at me it's just another challenge for me," he added.