Australia in India 2012-13

Dumped Lyon remains confident

Brydon Coverdale

March 8, 2013

Comments: 40 | Text size: A | A

Nathan Lyon sends down a delivery, West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 5th day, April 27, 2012
Nathan Lyon: "To bowl Sachin Tendulkar through the gate you must be doing something right." © Associated Press
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Australia offspinner Nathan Lyon believes he is bowling well despite being axed after the Chennai Test and asked to work on some technical issues. Lyon said he knew he had leaked too many runs in the first Test but felt he had bowled alright under the circumstances.

Lyon's immediate future remains unclear after the Australia coach Mickey Arthur said during the week that the offspinner had been down on form for some time and that there were technical aspects of his game that had to be addressed after he collected 4 for 244 during the loss in Chennai, an analysis that included a beautiful ball that turned between bat and pad to bowl Sachin Tendulkar. He was replaced for the second Test in Hyderabad by Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell, who bowled in tandem, and Australia's preferred spin strategy for the third Test in Mohali remains a mystery.

"I thought they came out alright in Chennai," Lyon said. "To bowl Sachin Tendulkar through the gate you must be doing something right. I was quite happy with that, I went for a few runs here and there, but bowling against the best bats in the world in their conditions, they were obviously going to come hard at me playing one spinner in the side.

"But I've worked hard in the nets and I'm feeling confident in my own bowling. The technical stuff ... it's all the same, I haven't changed anything ... since I was 16. I reckon it [my confidence] has gone up if anything, bowling the best batsman in the world through the gate. As an offspinner growing up that's what you dream of. My confidence has gone up a level rather than down."

Since his Test debut in August 2011, Lyon has been the seventh-highest wicket-taker in Tests and the only spinners ahead of him on the list are Rangana Herath, Saeed Ajmal and R Ashwin. However, his home summer was disappointing. Hyderabad was the first Test in which he had been dumped for another spinner, having previously only missed out against India at the WACA when Australia went with a four-man pace attack.

"You are never safe, especially playing at the top level, especially having quality spinners in and around the squad," Lyon said. "That's the great thing about Australian cricket. We have different options we can go in with, that is the selectors' choice they made for Hyderabad and hopefully it is a different scenario in Mohali.

"I haven't spoken to [chairman of selectors] John Inverarity, but Mickey and all our coaches have worked hard in the past week and we had a good training session in the middle. I'm still feeling confident in my bowling so hopefully they haven't lost faith."

Inverarity has flown home to Australia and Lyon's chances of playing in Mohali will be determined by the new selector on duty, Rod Marsh, along with Arthur and the captain Michael Clarke. After the Chennai Test, Clarke said he had been impressed by the way Lyon bounced back in the second innings to get rid of Virender Sehwag. Later, Lyon received advice from both Shane Warne in Hyderabad and spin mentor Stuart MacGill on the phone from Australia.

"We spoke about the more mental side of the game over here in India," Lyon said of his chat with MacGill. "Yes, I bowled one maiden in Chennai but they are the best players of spin and that was quite a difficult pitch to bowl on. It was turning a lot then some weren't turning at all. To have MS Dhoni go off like that was something unbelievable and I have taken a lot out of that, I feel I've grown within myself and learnt a lot about my bowling."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by AKS286 on (March 9, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

World's Best Spinner in the history has been DUMPED. No, i think he is rested for mohali test & Ashes.mohali wicket is good for fast bowlers and reverse swing is the key. Siddle & co. fails in reverse swing. So, lyon is the better option in mohali test. He can bowl (only) in swingers to the right handed batsman with light medium pace. In which he can trouble H.Singh, I.Sharma, ojha/ashwin/B.kumar. Lyon is the future captain & spin coach of Aus.

Posted by Tumbarumbar on (March 9, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

@badmanners, Ricky Ponting wasn't a Selector and I don't believe he said Hauritz had technical issues. What he actually said, and this is not a quote, was that Hauritz needed to be more flexible in his bowling approach, that he had to be able to bowl to the captain's requirements rather than have the captain adjust his plans to cater to the bowler. Clarke is a selector and while only those on tour know the real story it would seem self evident that Lyon is technically very good but very, very risk adverse with his bowling. I don't think that Clarke who, if he wasn't a great batsmen, could be a near great sla bowler is the biggest fan of a risk less spinner which is why Doherty and Maxwell came into the second test. Doherty to be the leak plugger and Maxwell to do everything short of juggling. Between them they made the sort of bowler Lyon should be but still left Australia one bowler short.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 9, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

I assume that Australia wanted to play Maxwell to bolster the batting and chose to play Doherty because he offered variety instead of going with two offies. Even though Maxwell didn't offer much with the bat in Hyderabad, with Australia's batting currently in disarray, I can't see them wanting to ostensibly weaken the batting lineup for the next Test and Doherty and Maxwell did well enough with the ball, especially in comparison to Lyon in Chennai, that they are almost certain to be retained for the next game.

Posted by Tumbarumbar on (March 9, 2013, 4:52 GMT)

@FFL you are a most amusing poster. While Australia had not one but two great spin bowlers in Warne and McGill they also had so many premiere batsmen that guys like Martin Love, David Hussey, Stuart Law, Jamie Siddons and even Darren Lehman couldn't get a test cap at the peak of their powers. Just bowling in the nets must have been more challenging than bowling in many a test match. Australian spinners don't face that now. They must have to draw lots to bowl to poor old Phil Hughes in the nets. I would imagine the same applied for the England spinners during the teams thrashing by Pakistan but at least that thrashing showed that lessons can be learnt. I just wonder if the Australians are good students.

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 9, 2013, 2:59 GMT)

Personally I have no problems with Lyon's bowling - his Test & FC record is superior to Doherty, while his List A is slightly worse but has a much better 20/20 record - that said, I would prefer X over the big show when bowling in tandem... If anything Clarke let down Nathan by only picking 1 spinner at Chennai when it was obvious to everyone else that 2 would be required to try & win the 1st Test...

Posted by yorkshirematt on (March 9, 2013, 1:58 GMT)

Perhaps Randy Oz would like to give his views on Oz's best seamer being dropped

Posted by badmanners on (March 8, 2013, 21:09 GMT)

Nathan Hauritz had his career destroyed by Ricky Ponting deciding he had "technical issues" Warne took 17 tests to reach 65 wickets, Lyon has taken 20 tests. He's a good bowler and the selection committee should hang there heads in shame.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (March 8, 2013, 20:19 GMT)

MZM149. If man with 35000 international runs is a walking wicket then cricket has never produced any batsman only. By the way u forgot Sachin smashed all bowlers starting from wasim waqar to Bret lee. Not tonmention greatest spinner of all time warne

Posted by mzm149 on (March 8, 2013, 20:09 GMT)

Nothing to take away from Lyon but Tendulkar is a walking wicket.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (March 8, 2013, 18:59 GMT)

What a year-long embarrassment the Lyon saga has been for Australia. One after the other each spinner since Warne has had their careers last just a couple of Ashes test matches before being dumped, Lyon's lucky that this has happened to him before the Ashes so he is the exception to this rule. To think the country that produced Warne is now making headlines even in Aussie newspapers for not having a single spinner. And England have Swann, all 20 wickets in an Indian series of him. How the tables have turned.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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