Dumped Lyon remains confident
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