Australia in India 2012-13 March 8, 2013

Dumped Lyon remains confident

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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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • yorkshirematt on March 9, 2013, 1:58 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • mzm149 on March 8, 2013, 20:09 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • yorkshirematt on March 9, 2013, 1:58 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • mzm149 on March 8, 2013, 20:09 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • Thefakebook on March 8, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    A. Zampa and A.Turner bowling tandem will be me dream come true(still may take 6-7 years by then Xavier,Hauratz,Krejza,Beer and hopefully not SO'K will retire from International cricket and Ahmed does not even exit in club cricket @41). I already witness me nightmare of Xavier and Glenn bowl in tandem(told you guys if that happens worst defeat in years will occur and a historical humiliation happened)but you know what they say DREAMS DO COME TRUE!

  • unregisteredalien on March 8, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    Dan Brettig, if you're reading this, please do a piece on Steve O'Keefe and help us understand where he's at and why (oh why) he is being overlooked by the selectors. Cheers!

  • street_smart on March 8, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    If anyone needs to be dumped first in this Australian squad then it has to be Mickey Arthur.

  • Jayzuz on March 8, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    Unfortunately the word is that Lyon will not be in the next test, and Doherty will be retained. Inverarity is determined to bring the X Man's test bowling average down below 70. OK, the last bit was a joke. I really wish the first part was a joke too, but sadly, Lyon won't be playing. The Indian players must be scratching each others' eyes out begging to bat up the order to get as many overs facing Doherty as possible. Hell, I reckon I'd fancy my chances, too.

  • trex1981 on March 8, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    Slow bowlers Sheffield Shield averages for this season: Ashton Agar; 14 wickets at 28.78 (4 matches) Michael Beer; 8 wickets at 46.37 (4 matches) Cameron Boyce; 6 wickets at 66.33 (5 matches) Xavier Doherty; 2 wickets at 80.00 (4 matches) Fawad Ahmed; 9 wickets at 21.88 (2 matches) Nathan Hauritz; 13 wickets at 34.07 (5 matches) Jon Holland; 0 wickets (2 matches) Jason Krejza; 5 wickets at 73.40 (4 matches) Nathan Lyon; 7 wickets at 71.42 (5 matches) Glenn Maxwell; 7 wickets at 25.42 (3 matches) James Muirhead; 2 wickets at 53.00 (1 match) Steve O'Keefe; 18 wickets at 27.94 (8 matches) Clive Rose; 3 wickets at 21.33 (1 match) Steven Smith; 1 wicket at 71.00 (5 matches) Cameron White; 3 wickets at 49.33 (8 matches) Adam Zampa; 10 wickets at 23.90 (3 matches)

  • Nightwing32 on March 8, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    Lyon is awesome. He will play better with experience, I really hope they stick with him because the team loves him, he can stick around with the bat. It doesn't matter if he is not like MacGill or Warney, as long as he can do his job and support the fast bowlers I'm happy.

  • ThemanID on March 8, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    Experience, nothing else. This exact same Aussie team could play really well next time they visit India.

  • Beertjie on March 8, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    Agree @ blink182alex on (March 8, 2013, 11:51 GMT) but don't forget Holland! How are Ahmed and Holland both going to play for Victoria? Hope both get maximum opportunities in next season's Shield even if one has to move. Then there is Beer and Agar (although personall I've never rated Beer).

  • Green_and_Gold on March 8, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Always thought that Lyon was the main spinner. No issues bringing in a second spinner in India however Lyon should still be picked. You can see the issues the selectors have though - a team that takes 20 wickets and scores 450+ in an innings. Thats where a fully fit watto comes in batting and being the back up pace option (but he is a batsman only for the series so he dosent break down which is fair enough). The policy of too many allrounders is hurting us.

  • adicric on March 8, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    if thats the case of dismissing tendulkar then guys i want to remind all of u a great stat of this series JADEJA has got current best bet of world MICHAEL CLARKE three times out of fous innings then he must be best spinner in world really??

  • PadMarley on March 8, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    Common dude grow up!!! much worse bowlers than you have taken players like Sachin, Lara, Viv, Pointing and other greats out. Get the feedback from your coach... work on it and be a better bowler... be consistent!

  • Sprojy on March 8, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    Given that all three spinners, Maxwell, Lyon and Doherty will struggle in India, is there any chance it may open the door for SOK come Ashes time?

  • trex1981 on March 8, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    @ Satishchandar, I believe he must be referring to Michael Clarke and David Warner :P

  • IPSY on March 8, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    In New Zealand's (the 8th ranked team in test cricket) last tour of India, of all places, two of the most inexperienced bowlers in the world: Trent Boult (10 matches) and Bracewell (17 matches) tore through Tendulkar's defence like hurricane blowing away loose paper and BOWLED him THREE different times for scores below 10 and 20, on those graveyard pitches in India. Since that, I have seen nearly every bowler who bowled to Mr tendulkar doing the same thing to him. And before that, 'bowling Tendulkar' was never any really big deal for many bowlers! So what is this usual over hyped story about Tendulkar being bowled by Lyon about? check the number of times that Tendulkar has been bowled by "all kinds" of bowlers" in his last 20 test matches?

  • gsingh7 on March 8, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    even doherty wud have bowled sachin if pitched in that rough. but to concede 215 runs for a record for bowlers, u surely did something right there.

  • blink182alex on March 8, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    Lyon is not a bad bowler, infact he is regarded as a good bowler by most of the batsmen he has bowled to. Lets not forget the good work he has done in series against Sri Lanka, West Indies, New Zealand and even South Africa, remember him making Jacques Rudolph look like he'd never seen an offie before?

    He hasn't set the world on fire against India, but there are very few spinners that go through India in India. We've been searching around for 5 years for a decent spinner since Warney retired, we've found someone with talent who's done well for us, and we drop him for Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell!

    Lyon should be unidisputed number 1 spinner until Fawad Ahmed qualifies or Agar continues to impress consistently for WA in the Shield. Don't pick anyone based on one day performances, cough Doherty.

  • on March 8, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    Lyon deserves another go. The stats (see the 7th highest wicket taker link) are interesting. Swann is so highly rated, but Lyon compares much better against him than some would say. Clearly, he is not better than Swann, but his average is only 4 runs per wicket higher, and his strike rate only 3 balls more. In fact, his strike rate is better than Panesaar, Bresnan, Anderson and Finn, all of whom many of those who post here would rate higher. As for the comment about most of his wickets being tailenders well, wickets are wickets and you need 10 of them each innings. How many matches have been saved or won by tailenders whom the fielding team has been unable to dislodge? Besides, spinners simply do not bowl at the top order as much as the fast men (other than, perhaps, in India), and when they do, the top order batsmen are usually well set, making the job harder.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on March 8, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    @EJ36, All current Aussie bowlers are tailend bowlers.

  • teammate on March 8, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    Now a days, bowling Sachin through the gate is not a great achievement! However, Sachin was not bowled through the gate too. Nathan, Focus on your bowling. You will come back. Best of luck.

  • Mary_786 on March 8, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    Get him back in, if he fails after the series then its his end but he is the best we have in the tour squad

  • Tumbarumbar on March 8, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    Sachin was 70 odd by the time Lyon took his wicket so I'm not sure if beating him with just one ball on a low bouncing sharply turning pitch actually counts as a victory. If it does I'm sure that Jadeja now regards Clarke as his all time bunny.

  • on March 8, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    "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." - that, along with his statement that he 'bowled Tendulkar through the gate' -(nope, inside) is why he isn't the spinner we need. Each season he bowls quicker. He IS changing his style, he doesn't even realise it and he assumes it's a fluke that his returns are worse and worse. He isn't observant, he doesn't concentrate, and he doesn't learn.

  • on March 8, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Michael Vaughan bowled Tendulkar in a Test match!! Lyon is in exalted company!

  • satishchandar on March 8, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    And, he is the best available bet for Australia with the squad they opted for.

  • satishchandar on March 8, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Being confident is one thing.. But to say the below really made it my day "You are never safe, especially playing at the top level, especially having quality spinners in and around the squad," Who is the quality spinner in the squad? Doherty? Maxwell? And, yes there are some quality spinners in Hauritz and Okeefe who can't be in the team that easy as you and Doherty.

  • on March 8, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    lyon is far better than maxweel and doherty.He deserves a chance in thrid test ahead of doherty atleast.its harsh on lyon to drop him just giving one chancehe should be given a fair chance to prove himself.

  • FairCricket_indinaus on March 8, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    He is heaps better than the other aussie roll arm bowlers (i wudnt call any of them spin bowlers as yet - good 'roll your arm mate' bowlers). Nathan lyon got to play in 3rd n 4th test.

  • suresh3101 on March 8, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    "To bowl Sachin Tendulkar through the gate".. Not exactly.. Sachin went for a cover drive and it took the inside edge of the bat and the ball went on to the stumps..Now I can see why Lyon is dumped by the Aussies :)

  • guptahitesh4u on March 8, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    It was really a harsh decision to axe lyon!!

  • EJ36 on March 8, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Rubbish bowler. Most of his wickets are tailenders

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  • EJ36 on March 8, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Rubbish bowler. Most of his wickets are tailenders

  • guptahitesh4u on March 8, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    It was really a harsh decision to axe lyon!!

  • suresh3101 on March 8, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    "To bowl Sachin Tendulkar through the gate".. Not exactly.. Sachin went for a cover drive and it took the inside edge of the bat and the ball went on to the stumps..Now I can see why Lyon is dumped by the Aussies :)

  • FairCricket_indinaus on March 8, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    He is heaps better than the other aussie roll arm bowlers (i wudnt call any of them spin bowlers as yet - good 'roll your arm mate' bowlers). Nathan lyon got to play in 3rd n 4th test.

  • on March 8, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    lyon is far better than maxweel and doherty.He deserves a chance in thrid test ahead of doherty atleast.its harsh on lyon to drop him just giving one chancehe should be given a fair chance to prove himself.

  • satishchandar on March 8, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Being confident is one thing.. But to say the below really made it my day "You are never safe, especially playing at the top level, especially having quality spinners in and around the squad," Who is the quality spinner in the squad? Doherty? Maxwell? And, yes there are some quality spinners in Hauritz and Okeefe who can't be in the team that easy as you and Doherty.

  • satishchandar on March 8, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    And, he is the best available bet for Australia with the squad they opted for.

  • on March 8, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Michael Vaughan bowled Tendulkar in a Test match!! Lyon is in exalted company!

  • on March 8, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    "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." - that, along with his statement that he 'bowled Tendulkar through the gate' -(nope, inside) is why he isn't the spinner we need. Each season he bowls quicker. He IS changing his style, he doesn't even realise it and he assumes it's a fluke that his returns are worse and worse. He isn't observant, he doesn't concentrate, and he doesn't learn.

  • Tumbarumbar on March 8, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    Sachin was 70 odd by the time Lyon took his wicket so I'm not sure if beating him with just one ball on a low bouncing sharply turning pitch actually counts as a victory. If it does I'm sure that Jadeja now regards Clarke as his all time bunny.