Australian, NSW and Sydney Sixers superstar Nathan Lyon has taken time out in recent weeks to mentor dozens of the state’s up and coming regional cricketers.

Lyon, widely considered as Test cricket’s greatest ever off-spinner, was born in Young on NSW’s South West Slopes, and has long been a supporter of empowering young country cricketers.

With face-to-face coaching clinics a COVID-19 casualty this off-season, Lyon worked with Cricket NSW’s Pathway Manager Nic Bills to offer a series of online seminars to players from the Greater Hunter, Northern NSW, Riverina/Western and Southern NSW/ACT/Illawarra regions.

In the online sessions Lyon focussed on his cricket journey from country ovals to the hallowed turf of Lords and the SCG, how he aims to improve his life every day and tips on training harder than what the game is.

“The best thing that I try and do for myself is make sure each and every morning I get up to get better,” Lyon told his online audience during the Northern NSW session.

“That’s either getting better as a cricketer – bat, bowl, field, whatever it may be – but also as a person as well. And as a dad.

“I want to be the best dad and the person I can be so there’s always room for improvement in my eyes.”

Lyon also encouraged the young players to look at the positives that come from beginning their cricket careers in the country, rather than some perceived negatives. He sighted the ability for many youngsters in regional areas to be able to play regularly on turf wickets ahead of their city-based competitors as just one example of an advantage he experienced.

Archie Wearne is a student at Goulburn High and plays for Eastlake Cricket Club in Canberra. The promising young leg spinner is also part of the ACT Southern Districts Zone Academy squad and said Lyon gave him confidence to chase his dreams.

“It was probably his journey that he talked mostly about and how it’s not that far away or out of reach for a player from the country to make it to the Australian team if they have the ability and put in the work,” Wearne, 17, said of Lyon.

“If you’re good enough you can get there by working really hard and you can do it quite quickly. It gave me a bit of hope to know that I can be able to play for Australia with a lot of hard work.”

Ebony Hoskin, 18, from Howlong on the NSW/Victoria border will play for Albury Cricket Club this season and is part of the Riverina Academy and U19 ACT/NSW Country squad. The medium pace bowler and middle order batter said Lyon had boosted her motivation for the season ahead.

“The most important thing I took away from Nathan was to take every opportunity that’s given to you, but obviously work hard enough to be able to accept those opportunities,” she said.

“He told us to focus on positives, not negatives and to be process driven, rather than outcome driven. It was a great insight into that level of cricket and to see the expectations and mindset you need to have to be at that level.

“That’s where I want to be one day so it was good to get a better understanding of it all.”