Nathan Lyon has challenged the country's rising stars to trade cricket's rock'n'roll white-ball lifestyle for a more substantive journey on the Test circuit. As he approaches his 100th consecutive Test, the record-breaking Australian off-spinner insists the onus is just as much on players as it on administrators to ensure the five-day game has a future.
The lucrative T20 circuit is proving addictive to a new generation of player spurning the red-ball game for the riches of the shorter format. It's led to concerns over the future of Test cricket.
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"The young guys have to decide whether they want to live the high life and get paid really well or do they really want to challenge themselves and play for Australia," Lyon told Yahoo Sport Australia. "To get your baggy green and play Test cricket for a long time, that's the absolute ultimate.
"Test cricket is still the pinnacle. It is the only format where you cannot hide. In T20 cricket and one-day cricket, you can get away with having a little weakness or shortcoming.
"In Test cricket, if you have a weakness against the short ball or short-pitched bowling or spin bowling or whatever it may be, you always get found out. I'm definitely not concerned about the future of Test cricket but it's on players, not just administrators, to ensure it has a future."
Nathan Lyon chasing history with Australia
Lyon sits on 97 consecutive Tests for Australia and will crack the ton, if all goes to plan, in the second Ashes Test at Lord's. Mark Waugh (107) and Allan Border (153) are the only Australians above him on that exclusive list. But it's another piece of history Lyon is chasing first.
Pat Cummins' team meet India in the World Test Championship final at The Oval from June 7, attempting to become the first Australian side to lift the trophy. "You look at what those great teams led by Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting and Allan Border achieved (and) we can be the first Australian team to win this," Lyon said.
"So, it is very special and something that I'm proud to be a part of. If you asked any international Test cricketer if they want to be a part of it, I'd be amazed if they said no.
"This is the World Cup of Test cricket. This is, in NRL terms, our grand final. If you look at our last 24 months, I think we aimed up to allow us to be in this game and we'll compete hard and hopefully win it."
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