Thumb injury to delay Lyon's BBL return

Rob Forsaith
Nathan Lyon injured a thumb in the third Test victory over New Zealand at the SCG

Nathan Lyon will not return to the Big Bash League until January 18 at the earliest because of his thumb injury.

Lyon dropped a return catch on day three of the SCG Test, with the blow drawing blood and resulting in a lifted nail on his right thumb.

The offspinner continued to bowl in the trans-Tasman series finale, grabbing match figures of 10-118 to cap what was his most prolific home summer ever.

Lyon, having been a surprising omission for Australia's ODI tour of India, was slated to return for Sydney Sixers later this week.

But he will now miss the Sixers' games on Wednesday, Sunday and next Thursday before being assessed on the eve of the Sydney derby on January 18.

Lyon's setback will mean more opportunities for legspinner Lloyd Pope and offspinner Ben Manenti, while former Test tweaker Steve O'Keefe is also on the club's books.

The Sixers, second on the BBL ladder after a 5-2 start to the season, are considered one of the leading title contenders.

Especially given they should enter the finals with Test stars Lyon, Steve Smith and Josh Hazlewood all available.

Lyon was hoping to use the BBL to build a compelling case for an ODI recall, having been dumped as part of a selection overhaul that followed last year's World Cup.

"Definitely disappointed not to be on an Australian tour. My goal is to always be picked on an Australian tour and to play as many games as I can," Lyon said last month.

"I've had a chat to Justin Langer, I know where I stand.

"I know what I need to work on. I know where I can get better."