• ‘He is probably the hardest batter I’ve ever bowled to’

    Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon has pinpointed former South African captain AB de Villiers as the hardest opponent in an eight-year international career.

    Lyon, who has played 86 Tests against eight countries and 100s of players since September 2011’s debut, nominated De Villiers as the toughest challenge.

    ‘He is probably the hardest batter I’ve ever bowled to, and I’ve played against AB quite a few times now on different tours,’ Lyon told The Back Page Live.

    ‘And there’ve been a couple of tours when Mitchell Johnson’s been bowling like the wind after a pretty amazing Ashes series here at home, and AB was pulling Mitch in front of square leg and just back-footing drives and showing all the shots.

    ‘He’s probably the one guy who I’ve thought: “Oh crap, he can probably hit me anywhere he wants at any time.” So it’s an interesting one when you’re up against that challenge, but I’ve always said I want to challenge myself against the best players in the world, and AB is still one of those guys running around.’

    Lyon has been named in Australia’s squad for the World Cup in England and Wales next month. De Villiers retired from international cricket last year, ruling out participation in the global showpiece in the United Kingdom.

    Photo: Getty Images

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