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Cameron Green, a rising star, and Nathan Lyon, a seasoned veteran, excel without much attention, according to journalist Geoff Lemon.
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Cameron Green, a rising star, and Nathan Lyon, a seasoned veteran, excel without much attention, according to journalist Geoff Lemon.


You rarely want to be the main topic of discussion in Australia’s cricket scene. Sometimes a player receives attention for a positive reason, such as an exceptional performance that stands out. However, more often than not, the shift to the center of attention comes from dissatisfaction among the audience. This discontent may be from expressing frustration over a player’s poor performance, perceiving unfair advantages, or questioning why a more deserving player is not given the opportunity to play at a higher level. Marnus Labuschagne is currently facing this situation.

Cameron Green has yet to fully reach the spotlight, but in recent months he has started to edge closer to its perimeter. Throughout his professional journey, he has been recognized as a promising player, with a focus on his potential rather than his current abilities. The concept of a 2-meter tall fast bowler who can also score centuries is quite intriguing. However, eventually, players with potential must live up to their expectations and perform accordingly.

Green made his debut in 2020 and it is now 2024. He has participated in 27 Tests, equaling the number played by esteemed cricketers such as Bill O’Reilly, Bob Cowper, Darren Lehmann, and Bruce Reid. Therefore, when David Warner retired in January and the batting order was changed to include Green at No 4, there were objections from the public.

Smith’s undroppable status resulted in him being moved to the opening position, preventing validated reserve openers Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris, and Matthew Renshaw from having an opportunity. Those who disagreed with the decision had one key question: Why should Green receive such treatment? And what has he contributed lately?

This was somewhat unjust, considering Green’s impressive showings in six events: his score of 77 against Sri Lanka during difficult conditions in Galle, 74 on a grassy Hobart pitch against England with a pink ball, and 79 against Pakistan in the decisive match in Lahore. Each of these performances rescued Australia from a dire situation and contributed to a victory in the Test. His unbeaten 51 on the MCG, despite a badly injured finger, was not crucial in defeating South Africa, but demonstrated his resilience.

Cameron Green, 24, scored 208 runs across both innings to lead Australia’s victory in the first Test.View image in fullscreen

However, noteworthy performances from players in their fifties are not usually remembered as prominently as those who score hundreds. Additionally, all of these fifties occurred during the year 2022 rather than a less eventful 2023. Up until this week, there was a feeling of anticipation for Green to deliver a truly noteworthy performance. This finally happened during the Wellington Test, where he scored a total of 208 runs with only one dismissal, while the rest of the top seven Australian players only managed to score a combined 178 runs with 12 dismissals.

Green began his batting with a more agile approach than he has shown in the past. Despite losing four teammates, he remained composed and strategized on how to work with the lower order. He successfully formed significant partnerships for the final four wickets and demonstrated skillful management of the strike. His well-timed attacks on a challenging pitch resulted in five effortless sixes over the leg side, showcasing his powerful batting abilities. Additionally, he displayed moments of finesse, such as guiding a wide yorker behind the point fielder.

Green’s Test batting has not always included quick thinking, despite his large frame.

Nathan Lyon, who took ten wickets, graciously congratulated his teammate on being awarded player of the match. He mentioned that his teammate had been facing pressure, both from outside and within himself, but had managed to score a century in a recent match and bring that confidence to the current game. Lyon expressed his belief in his teammate’s abilities and hoped that this recognition would take his confidence to new heights. He further added that the team fully supports Cameron and sees a lot of potential in him.

At 36, Nathan Lyon is at the top of his game and took 10 wickets in Australia’s First Test victory.View image in fullscreen

Green and Lyon are at different stages in their careers, with Green potentially having a few more years to play. However, like Green, Lyon continues to show improvement. In the past, the off-spinner was criticized for being a specialist with an average in the 30s, but in recent years, he has steadily brought that number down. Prior to the 2017 India tour, his average was as high as 34.07, but it has since decreased to 30.35, its lowest point since 2012 when Lyon first started playing.

That sequence pretty much breaks his career into halves, with 63 Tests up until that India visit in 2017 compared to 65 since. The first period returned 228 wickets at 34, the period since has seen him take 299 at 27. So far in four matches this year he has 22 wickets at 17.

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When younger players grow in their abilities, it motivates older players to continue to improve. This dynamic is successful for Australia. Green has proven that he can perform at a high level. The next task is to continuously meet and exceed this standard. As Labuschagne has experienced, the attention of the media is always present.

Source: theguardian.com