Nathan Lyon has endured his fair share of tough times in cricket, but one tragic day stands out above them all.
The 32-year-old Australian spinner has brushed off the highs and lows of the game with ease over the years, but the death of NSW batsman Phillip Hughes in November 2014 has stayed with Lyon ever since.
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Asked what his worst moment in cricket was during an appearance on the Ordineroli Speaking podcast, hosted by Neroli Meadows, Lyon didn’t hesitate in answering - just two words was all it took.
It took no time at all for Lyon to answer Meadows’ question, and Lyon said the memories of the day Hughes was struck by that fateful delivery will remain with him forever.
I was about ten metres away from Phil when he got hit that day. The memories are obviously pretty fresh, and obviously he was a pretty good mate of mine and an unbelievable teammate as well. It’s one of those things you’re not going to let go,” Lyon said.
“It was a weird part of my life. Miller was born about three weeks before, so I had the joy of that, but then also losing your best mate.
“You soon realise that we’re just playing a game.
“There’s so many people who’d love to be in our shoes any day of the week, but the worst moment on a cricket field was when Phil Hughes got hit, by a long way.”
Nathan Lyon recalls winning wicket in Phil Hughes tribute Test
Australia’s first match of that summer was delayed after Hughes’ death.
The Australian team played again against India in Adelaide in December, a few weeks after Hughes’ passing.
Lyon took the match-winning wicket at 4:08pm - coincidentally lining up with Hughes’ test cap, 408.
It was his 12th wicket of the match.
“Walking out that last day, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin were going, ‘Don’t worry, something will give in this game,’ and it was quite amazing when you look at it and I get the breakthrough at 4:08,” Lyon said.
“It’s just weird, obviously on his Test number.
“There’s a pretty amazing photo at the end of the game when we’re out singing the song and we’re around the painted numbers on the ground. It’s probably one of my favourite photos.
“The way the game panned out, and obviously the events beforehand, that was probably the best way I felt like I could pay my respects to Phil.
“Normally I’m in the middle of the song, but I actually got out into the circle with all the boys, so it felt like Hughesy was leading it. It was pretty amazing.
“All the New South Wales guys achieved something that game, which was a bit strange.
“Just being a part of that Australia group that week was pretty incredible.”