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Lyon's Lancashire stint cut by two matches

Ben McKay/AAP PHOTOS

Nathan Lyon's spell with English county Lancashire has been cut by two matches as Cricket Australia looks to protect the fitness of the star spinner.

The Australian, who has taken 530 Test wickets, was due to be available for the full 2024 season with Lancashire, but he will now be free for seven of the first nine rounds of the Championship.

It's a sensible precaution for Australia, who have five home Tests against India starting in November.

But Lancashire's director of cricket performance, Mark Chilton, said: "Naturally, we are disappointed that Nathan will no longer be joining us for the full 2024 season.

"However, we are still incredibly excited to be able to welcome him for seven matches in the County Championship."

Lyon will arrive at Old Trafford ahead of the season opener against Surrey, on Friday, April 5. He will remain with the Red Rose until Wednesday, July 3.

Lyon now ranks as the seventh highest Test wicket taker of all time and his capture is a coup for Lancashire.

Chilton added: "After speaking with Nathan since this decision was taken, I know that he is still really excited about joining up with us."

The county say they are "assessing options" for an extra overseas player, for the white-ball games in particular.