Australian, NSW and Sydney Sixers superstar Nathan Lyon has taken time out in recent weeks to mentor dozens of the state’s up and coming regional cricketers.

Lyon, widely considered as Test cricket’s greatest ever off-spinner and fondly referred to across the nation as the GOAT, was born in Young on NSW’s South West Slopes, and has long been a supporter of empowering young country cricketers.

With face-to-face coaching clinics a COVID-19 casualty this off-season, Lyon teamed up with Cricket NSW’s pathway manager Nic Bills to offer a series of online seminars to players from the Greater Hunter, Northern NSW, Riverina/Western and Southern
NSW/ACT/Illawarra regions.

One of those juniors was 16-year-old Narrabri cricketer Sid Harvey.

Sid, an all-rounder for the Tatts Cricket Club first XI as well as both senior and junior Narrabri representative sides, said it was a great opportunity to hear from an Australian great.

“He told us all about how he got to where he is and what he had to do and sacrifice to get there,” Sid said.

“It was really good, he was really nice and engaged with us all.

“At the end of it he held a Q and A and I stuck my hand up on the chat and got to ask him a question.

“I asked whether or not he could tell if he was on top of a new batsman after a few balls. He explained how he tried not to focus on the batsman too much, but actually focus on bowling to his plan.

“It was pretty exciting to talk to him.”

In the online sessions Lyon focussed on his cricket journey from country ovals to the hallowed turf of Lords and the SCG, how he aims to improve his life every day and tips on training harder than what the game is.

“The best thing that I try and do for myself is make sure each and every morning I get up to get better,” Lyon told his online audience during the Northern NSW session.

“That’s either getting better as a cricketer – bat, bowl, field, whatever it may be – but also as a person as well. And as a dad.

“I want to be the best dad and the person I can be so there’s always room for improvement in my eyes.”

Lyon also encouraged the young players to look at the positives that come from beginning their cricket careers in the country, rather than some perceived negatives.

He sighted the ability for many youngsters in regional areas to be able to play regularly on turf wickets ahead of their city-based competitors as just one example of an advantage he experienced.

Sid, who will play for Tatts again during the 2021-22 Narrabri District Cricket Association season, said that the Zoom call left him feeling so pumped for the coming season that the very next day he organised to meet Tatts stalwart Craig Gleeson for a session at the Cooma Oval nets.

The young gun told The Courier that he was keen to play a role in getting Tatts back into the finals this season after it missed out on a spot in the post-season in the 2020-21 campaign.

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