December 6, 2011

Memo to Nathan Lyon

Spin the ball hard, mix up the pace, follow your instincts
  shares 48

Dear Nathan,

Mate, keep spinning hard and getting the ball above the level of the batsman's eyes. You seem to know instinctively what I took years to learn: that the key to spin bowling is not where the ball lands but how it arrives. Spin hard, drive up and over your braced front leg with a high bowling arm and you can defeat the best batsmen on any track, anywhere, anytime.

My greatest practical lesson was bowling to the Nawab of Pataudi in India long ago. The great old leggie Clarrie Grimmett, who got Don Bradman plenty of times in his long career, told me to spin up and rely heavily on my stock ball: if you bowl hard-spun offbreaks on an attacking line and change your pace, you will get wickets. Like Shane Warne, when first brought on to bowl I simply bowled my stock ball, hard-spun and at slightly different paces, to ensure that I stayed in the attack.

If you played under Bill Lawry, as I did first up in my career, and went for a few runs in your first over, that might be your lot for the day. Thankfully I came to play under Ian Chappell, who was terrific, as was Mark Taylor down the track with Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh. I think, too, that Michael Clarke is in the Chappell-Taylor mould. He tries to make things happen and he definitely has a rapport with your style and skill and will back you.

I love the way you spin up on the attacking line against the right-handers. Sometimes the right-hand batsman can snick an offbreak to first slip simply because he has allowed for greater turn in towards him. A ball with more over-spin on it may turn in a little, but not as much as the batsman expects, and that gives you a better chance of getting an outside edge. The one you got Doug Bracewell with in Brisbane looked like the sort of delivery I'm talking about. Ian Chappell took 17 catches off me in Tests, mostly at first slip, and most of those were the result of my getting more over-spin on those particular deliveries, while the batsmen allowed for a greater breadth of turn.

After my first 10 Tests and 46 wickets, Bob Simpson came to me and said, "Where's your arm ball?"

I replied: "Arm ball? What's that, Simmo?"

The great Australian opening batsman showed me the way to hold the ball, running your index finger down the seam.

"That's not for me, Bob," I said. "I bowl offbreaks. I'm not a swing bowler."

Bruce Yardley used to say the best "arm ball" was the offie he bowled that carried straight on.

Jim Laker bowled an undercutter but some turned a good way and some went like a legcutter. I put it to him: "Jim, the opposition are nine down. One ball to go and six to win. The slogging right-hander is in and you know he'll hit with the tide and try to win the game with a six. What happens if the undercutter you bowl doesn't leave the right-hander, but spins in from the off?"

He eyeballed me and in his laconic Yorkshire accent announced: "We lose!"

You have to give a bit to get a bit, and mate, you do that instinctively. I have no hesitation in saying that you are the best Australian offie I've seen in nearly 30 years. But you have to get your field placement right. Against the left-handers you simply have to have a straight midwicket. Why? Because we need to cover the straight-bat shots with a straight midwicket and deepish mid-on. As long as you bowl hard-spun, dipping offies on a line of middle stump, the batsman needs to take a huge risk to hit against the spin.

When you bowl to a right-hander, your off-side field is vital; conversely, when operating to a left-hander, your on-side field is paramount. As offies we are trying to get the right-hand batsman to hit against the spin to the off side, and left-handers to the on side.

Warne needed his straight midwicket to work a similar strategy. Against the left-handers you need to bowl a straighter line, that is, middle, middle and leg, so that if they miss you might hit off stump. That line, because of the manner in which the ball is coming towards the batsman, hard-spun and dipping, will make it tough for the best left-handers to play you. It will also give you a better chance of hitting off stump.

Also, don't be afraid to bowl the odd spell over the wicket to a left-hander. They're not used to it, and it is a good variation in itself. Looking back at my own career, each time I got Clive Lloyd out was when I bowled over the wicket.

I speak regularly with Graeme Swann about offspin in general, and lines. We talk about change of pace, and about operating to attacking lines and always spinning hard. We agree that the hard-spun, dipping ball to a right-hander must be outside the eyeline. A hard-spun delivery curves away a bit and that helps to create a gap between bat and pad.

You have to give a bit to get a bit, and mate, you do that instinctively. I have no hesitation in saying that you are the best Australian offie I've seen in nearly 30 years.

I showed Daniel Vettori and Swann the method of bowling a square spinner. It is the offspinner's equivalent of the legbreak bowler's slider, which is pushed out of the front of the hand. When you get it right, the ball looks like an offbreak but appears to have less purchase on it. Upon hitting the pitch, it skids on straight. Swann got Marcus North a few times with that delivery, and he uses it a lot; he rarely resorts to the one-finger swinger that Simmo was banging on to me about. Vettori does bowl the one-finger arm-ball, which looks impressive but rarely gets good players out. His square spinner gets him wickets.

The square spinner is so much better than the doosra for two reasons: You cannot pick the square spinner, because it looks like an offbreak but carries straight on. And for a bloke like you, who really spins and bounces your stock offbreak, a doosra would probably be superfluous as it might beat the bat of any right-hander by a mile. The field would applaud, so too the captain, but the batsman would survive because moral victories don't count in your wicket tally.

The best offie I saw was Erapalli Prasanna, the little Indian bowler. You could hear the ball buzz when he delivered it. He said that spin bowling was an invitation for the batsman to hit into the outfield. He meant dropping or dipping the ball, so you do the batsman in the air and the ball hits higher on his bat than he wants it to. When that happens, there is a potential catch.

A word of warning: take care with whom you talk offspin, because I've seen the nonsense going on at the Centre of Excellence, where spinners are wired to music. There are precious few people in Australia who really know much about offspin bowling. Keep spinning hard and follow your instincts. You will find that subtle changes of pace, allied to your hard-spun deliveries will help break the rhythm of the batsman and bring you more wickets more often. Keep going as you are: your method of bowling offbreaks is a joy to watch.

Yours in spin, and good luck

Ashley Mallett

Ashley Mallett took 132 Tests wickets in 38 Tests for Australia. An author of over 25 books, he has written biographies of Clarrie Grimmett, Doug Walters, Jeff Thomson and Ian Chappell

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | December 8, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    claydo78, I am a great admirer of Ricky Ponting as a cricketer and there is no taking away from his phenomenal record as a captain- I have watched Australia"s triumphs in world cups and followed his all conquering team on TV for years. Yet , he had a great team and wonderful performers in McGrath and Warne. When the big champions left along with gilly, Hayden et al his captaincy and batting suffered. I personally feel that Clarke handles spinners better than Ponting. I am sure Ponting"s captaincy record is safe but Clarke in his limited tenure is showing all the signs of being a good captain at least. sridhar

  • POSTED BY stevewaughsbox on | December 8, 2011, 3:12 GMT

    Mallett probably doesn't recommend Lyon bowl a doosra for the simple reason that everyone who bowls a doosra has to "throw" the ball to do so. It may get wickets, but it ranks up there with the English practice of rubbing vaseline on the ball to make it swing. Not the right thing to do.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | December 7, 2011, 23:04 GMT

    @Dannymania - "Why mention Graeme Swann,D.Vittori,Shane warne and leave out the two best bowlers who introduced VARIETY called doosra" - If you read the article the answer is right there in the 3rd last paragraph, where in Mallet's opinion "....The square spinner is so much better than the doosra for two reasons: You cannot pick the square spinner, because it looks like an offbreak but carries straight on. And for a bloke like you, who really spins and bounces your stock offbreak, a doosra would probably be superfluous as it might beat the bat of any right-hander by a mile. The field would applaud, so too the captain, but the batsman would survive because moral victories don't count in your wicket tally..." - Mallet doesn't rate the Doosra highly. Please read the article first so that you don't apear to be totally ignorant!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | December 7, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    Nathan Lyon is certainly going to be the upcoming future of spin bowling. far better than Swan

  • POSTED BY REH223 on | December 7, 2011, 16:17 GMT

    HEY LYON. TAKE SOME ADVICE FROM THE NO.1 ODI BOWLER SAEED AJMAL.!!!

  • POSTED BY insightfulcricketer on | December 7, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    Clarke is a handy spinner himself so I am confident he will support Lyon even if he goes for a few. Shewag and Gambhir will come hard at him during the test series.Indians have successfully done against Hogg ('08) and Macgill ('04) before and with some success against Warne when he travelled to India. However Lyon is liable to get a vital out and open the trenches for a fast bowler to run through. Swann was a disappointment during India-Eng series - hopefully Lyon sticks to his attacking lines.

  • POSTED BY Migara on | December 7, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    "The best offie I saw was Erapalli Prasanna"

    Mr. Mallet has never heard about Muralitharan. Mallet also forgets that Prasanna was not an old school offie which Mallet brags about, but more a wristy offie, the closest bowler to Muralitharan.

  • POSTED BY Babu22 on | December 7, 2011, 12:02 GMT

    @Dannymania: Have you actually read the article?. This is an open letter from Ashley Mallett to Nathan Lyon. Ashley is telling Nathan what to do to be more successful. Ashley mentions Swann and Vettori because he has had a lot of interaction with those two guys. He is an Aussie so mentions Shane Warne. Do you have any problem with that? Does he need to mention Murali and Saqlain in his every letter that he talks about spin? I can't understand your logic. Plus don't use words like "So stupid". Don't show your ignorance/insensitive behaviour like a youtube commenter. Please.

  • POSTED BY Dannymania on | December 7, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    Why are Saqlain mushtaq or Muttiah muralitharan not mentioned in this article?so stupid.Why mention Graeme Swann,D.Vittori,Shane warne and leave out the two best bowlers who introduced VARIETY called doosra!what the heck!

  • POSTED BY D.Pramod on | December 7, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    Contrary to Ashley Mallett's assertion regarding the doosra, it would actually be a handy little weapon for Lyon to develop - quite useful in limited overs cricket. Used well on the big grounds of Australia and South Africa it would definitely result in a nice little pouch of stumpings especially in the end overs when it is a given that batsmen would look to charge. A few such bags and some slogging ability developed via weights (aka Ravindra Jadeja) might just prove to be Lyon's ticket to IPL riches!

    And Arindam Podder would do well to read ESPNCricinfo regularly before lambasting Bedi, Pras and Kumble for not helping spinners; a look at http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/531475.html would show him that Prasanna did try to help Harbhajan. And Bedi of course is known for giving help unflinchingly. Kumble (along with colleague Javagal Srinath) has decided to go into cricket administration full time - so where do you find fault with that?

  • POSTED BY on | December 8, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    claydo78, I am a great admirer of Ricky Ponting as a cricketer and there is no taking away from his phenomenal record as a captain- I have watched Australia"s triumphs in world cups and followed his all conquering team on TV for years. Yet , he had a great team and wonderful performers in McGrath and Warne. When the big champions left along with gilly, Hayden et al his captaincy and batting suffered. I personally feel that Clarke handles spinners better than Ponting. I am sure Ponting"s captaincy record is safe but Clarke in his limited tenure is showing all the signs of being a good captain at least. sridhar

  • POSTED BY stevewaughsbox on | December 8, 2011, 3:12 GMT

    Mallett probably doesn't recommend Lyon bowl a doosra for the simple reason that everyone who bowls a doosra has to "throw" the ball to do so. It may get wickets, but it ranks up there with the English practice of rubbing vaseline on the ball to make it swing. Not the right thing to do.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | December 7, 2011, 23:04 GMT

    @Dannymania - "Why mention Graeme Swann,D.Vittori,Shane warne and leave out the two best bowlers who introduced VARIETY called doosra" - If you read the article the answer is right there in the 3rd last paragraph, where in Mallet's opinion "....The square spinner is so much better than the doosra for two reasons: You cannot pick the square spinner, because it looks like an offbreak but carries straight on. And for a bloke like you, who really spins and bounces your stock offbreak, a doosra would probably be superfluous as it might beat the bat of any right-hander by a mile. The field would applaud, so too the captain, but the batsman would survive because moral victories don't count in your wicket tally..." - Mallet doesn't rate the Doosra highly. Please read the article first so that you don't apear to be totally ignorant!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | December 7, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    Nathan Lyon is certainly going to be the upcoming future of spin bowling. far better than Swan

  • POSTED BY REH223 on | December 7, 2011, 16:17 GMT

    HEY LYON. TAKE SOME ADVICE FROM THE NO.1 ODI BOWLER SAEED AJMAL.!!!

  • POSTED BY insightfulcricketer on | December 7, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    Clarke is a handy spinner himself so I am confident he will support Lyon even if he goes for a few. Shewag and Gambhir will come hard at him during the test series.Indians have successfully done against Hogg ('08) and Macgill ('04) before and with some success against Warne when he travelled to India. However Lyon is liable to get a vital out and open the trenches for a fast bowler to run through. Swann was a disappointment during India-Eng series - hopefully Lyon sticks to his attacking lines.

  • POSTED BY Migara on | December 7, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    "The best offie I saw was Erapalli Prasanna"

    Mr. Mallet has never heard about Muralitharan. Mallet also forgets that Prasanna was not an old school offie which Mallet brags about, but more a wristy offie, the closest bowler to Muralitharan.

  • POSTED BY Babu22 on | December 7, 2011, 12:02 GMT

    @Dannymania: Have you actually read the article?. This is an open letter from Ashley Mallett to Nathan Lyon. Ashley is telling Nathan what to do to be more successful. Ashley mentions Swann and Vettori because he has had a lot of interaction with those two guys. He is an Aussie so mentions Shane Warne. Do you have any problem with that? Does he need to mention Murali and Saqlain in his every letter that he talks about spin? I can't understand your logic. Plus don't use words like "So stupid". Don't show your ignorance/insensitive behaviour like a youtube commenter. Please.

  • POSTED BY Dannymania on | December 7, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    Why are Saqlain mushtaq or Muttiah muralitharan not mentioned in this article?so stupid.Why mention Graeme Swann,D.Vittori,Shane warne and leave out the two best bowlers who introduced VARIETY called doosra!what the heck!

  • POSTED BY D.Pramod on | December 7, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    Contrary to Ashley Mallett's assertion regarding the doosra, it would actually be a handy little weapon for Lyon to develop - quite useful in limited overs cricket. Used well on the big grounds of Australia and South Africa it would definitely result in a nice little pouch of stumpings especially in the end overs when it is a given that batsmen would look to charge. A few such bags and some slogging ability developed via weights (aka Ravindra Jadeja) might just prove to be Lyon's ticket to IPL riches!

    And Arindam Podder would do well to read ESPNCricinfo regularly before lambasting Bedi, Pras and Kumble for not helping spinners; a look at http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/531475.html would show him that Prasanna did try to help Harbhajan. And Bedi of course is known for giving help unflinchingly. Kumble (along with colleague Javagal Srinath) has decided to go into cricket administration full time - so where do you find fault with that?

  • POSTED BY michaelcoffs on | December 7, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    What a wonderful article. Like listening in to a deep and meaningful chat between artist and protege. Fascinating.

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | December 7, 2011, 5:11 GMT

    @MATT . AFTER SEEING HIM THRASHING DOWN THE GROUND HITTING SIXES ON HIS BOWLS FROM DHONI IN ALMOST EVERYMATCH IN ODI SERIES THAT TOO ON A SPIN SUPPORTING PITCH WHERE INDIAN SPINNERS TAKE MOST OF THE WKTS .YOU ARE STILL SAYING SWANN IS BEST . ALSO LET ME REMIND YOU IN THE TRENTBIDGE TEST INDIA 'S FIRST INNINGS WHEN YUVI - DRAVID WAS MAKING PARTNERAHIP (OF COURSE YUVI WAS LUCKY BEING DROPPED TWO TIMES BY HIS RIVAL KP) STRAUSS GIVE SWANN BOWL . BUT YUVI & DRAVID EASILY MAKES RUNS ON HIS BOWL . HIS FIGURES WERE 14 -0 - 76 -1 . AND THAT ONE WKT WAS OFF RAINA .

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | December 7, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    @Matt., hhillbumper I hope you were not talking aboout the recent England tour of India. If you are then you must be hallucinating! THe minor team has thrashed the poms till they could not take anymore and wanted to play T20!

  • POSTED BY Claydo78 on | December 7, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    to nareshgb1, theres no way in hell i was joking pal! had clarke been skipper against england and india the two resent test series we have lost under ponting, the results wouldnt have been different. england and india will still put this current team to the sword, the only saving grace we have is the tour against india here and not over there or it will be a massacre! and that wouldnt be down to clarke captaincy either, people have to except we dont have a great team anymore and for the time being its going to be tough to beat the best in the world! but these kids will get better though, who knows in 5 years we might be on top of the mountain again!

  • POSTED BY hes_a_victorian on | December 7, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    You're only ever as good as your stock ball and totally agree with Mallett's philosophy on Lyon (at this stage of his career). If you can sharply turn the ball, the natural variation in how the ball pitches and the surface of the pitch will always create an element of doubt in trying to play attacking shots outside the line of the off stump for a right hander. I'm trying to conjure up some images of watching Colin "Funky" Miller bowling off spin (he was Australian Test cricketer of the year bowling off spin one year), who bowled a similar attacking line outside off stump to the right handers and was very succesful in obtaining edges behind, and a lot of catches close into the bat on the leg side (short leg and leg gully). I think this style of bowling is very good for harder bouncier surfaces, however some adjustments and additional variations help a lot on the slower surfaces where the ball doesn't ping off the surface as much. Don't forget Hauritz is on the way back too.

  • POSTED BY playitstraight on | December 7, 2011, 2:20 GMT

    Nathan Lyon is a brilliant spinner and is a great talent. Australia have got a huge bonus now, hopefully he continues to go on. Taking the huge wicket of the world's current no.1 test batsman Kumar Sangakkara off your first ball in Tests is no easy feat. Taking a 5-wicket haul in your first test with match figures of 15-3-34-5 is even a bigger feat. But that was on a spinner friendly pitch. It remains to be seen whether he can take wickets on any pitch, spin-friendly or pace-friendly pitches. If he can do so, then he really could be Australia main spinner they have been missing for a long time after the retirement of Shane Warne. The series against India could decide his place in the team, albeit he has already proved himself in 6 tests.

  • POSTED BY rohanbala on | December 7, 2011, 0:55 GMT

    Nathan Lyon must be thankful to Ashley Mallet for the words of wisdom. Probably Mallet thinks that Lyon has the potential to give a lot for the Australian team in future. Now it is up to the young man to bowl intelligently (without trying to do too many things too soon like the current crop of off spinners) and reach the level expected by Ashley Mallet.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | December 6, 2011, 23:40 GMT

    @L.P.Grace - yes I agree, but only if he is comfortable with his game. He did seem to be the same pace a lot - BUT, that is a part of his deception, because his trajectory varys, so his speed is deceptive. @ hhillbumper - I know that you weren't serious with your comment about " A decent spinner on that last pitch would have whipped anyone" - because aside from Warne & MacGill (leggies), it has been decades since an offie has taken that many wickets at the Gabba. Time will tell how good he is, particularly in this day & age batsmen can get a lot of footage of a bloke to analyse. Desperate? Nope! Confident? Yes! Where does he fit into the scheme of things as an offie? Better than Swann? Dunno - too early to say. Better than a couple of spinners Oz have tried recently - ah yes! He probably bowled better than Vettori (different scenarios).

  • POSTED BY Mad_Hamish on | December 6, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    Lyon looks like he's a chance to be a long term spinner for Australia. Very few spinners have been consistantly successful against India in recent years (Murali averaged 32 against them in tests and 45 against them in India) so failing against them shouldn't do too much damage to Lyon's career if the selectors are reasonable. Mallett's giving some good advice but just because he doesn't like the arm ball is no reason not to work on it (it worked for Laker and he's still got a fair claim to be the best spinner ever), there may be times not to use it but that's true of every delivery. (and even if it doesn't often get wickets it can play with the head of batsmen and make other options more dangerous)

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | December 6, 2011, 22:06 GMT

    @hhillbumper not that England have a good spinner either. Just someone who likes to think they're good. I guess at least he isn't South African like the rest of the team.

  • POSTED BY on | December 6, 2011, 21:09 GMT

    Yes, Nathan Lyon has a long way to go .. Yes, Ashley Mallett is not quite Terry Jenner who mentored one of the greatest spinners of the game. But Mallett is a erudite in the art of spin bowling. Perhaps the relatively modest natural talent always makes men add that extra dollop of hard work and heart when they really want to make it. That he picked the brains of greats like Grimmett definitely helped. What I like is - he is generous with some sound advice. And the fact that Lyon is perhaps the best of the lot dished out by post-Warne panic of Australian spin solution. Best of all Clarke seems to have that arm around the shoulder, a loving cheer which a spinner often needs before he can dictate terms. Indians would probably play you better than most - they had Warne and McGill down to tears - but you are good, keep at it. Good luck, Nathan!

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | December 6, 2011, 19:54 GMT

    a couple of good tests and world class already.You Aussies are getting almost as desperate as the Indian fans on these pages.Two minor teams playing each other. A decent spinner on that last pitch would have whipped anyone.

  • POSTED BY Beazle on | December 6, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    Ashley was not a huge spinner of the ball -he was tight and a bit flat and did not attack enough. When he did occasionally give the ball some loop, he could be effective but the truth is he played in an era when Australia had poor spin bowlers.

  • POSTED BY Matt. on | December 6, 2011, 18:14 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster - to be fair on Swann, when it was time to bring on the spinner the English paceman had already bowled India out!

  • POSTED BY nareshgb1 on | December 6, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    lovely article....wish I had seen it as a kid :):)

  • POSTED BY nareshgb1 on | December 6, 2011, 16:31 GMT

    Claydo78,

    " how can you say clarke is a better captain then ponting? its like comparing apples and oranges or night and day! ponting has won more test matches then any other captain in the history of test cricket, clarke has a long way to go before he can even be said in the same sentence as ponting let alone being a better captain!"

    OK - so what has Ricky the great captain won since Warnie and McGrath have gone? he just had a better team and it coincided with some of the weakest oppositions. The same goes for RIcky's batting too - his "greatness"(?) was simply inflated by a great team.

    Or were you just joking when you said that, eh?

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | December 6, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    I have had the fortune to see Ghulam Ahmed E A S Prasanna,Lance Gibbs and Ashley Mallett and Saqlain Mushtaq.All of them were greats. Mallett was very good in execution as he is in his theory as I see in the above piece.H e bowled India out to defeat at the Chepauk in 1969. That after they had themselves been 24 for 6 at one stage and defeat looming large. Their nemesis as always Prasanna simply destroyed their top order. Both got 10 wickets in that match. I saw Lance Gibbs too at the Chepauk in 67. It seemed like the ball was coming from the first floor. So tall was he. He was brilliant in planning and execution and was very accurate. Ghulam Ahmed was truly the old world off spinner as someone said. His success was limited in comparioson with teh others aforementioned because he played fewer number of games.Saqlain was the man who invented the 'doosra' as we all know like Bosanquet invented the googly. He was crafty and stingy and deserved every bit of success.

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | December 6, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    @rahulcricket007, success against India is no free ticket for long career. Read: Jason Kreja, Ajantha Mendis, Paul Harris et all.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | December 6, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    Mallett is another brilliant thinker. It beggers belief that Arthur was picked as coach yet this guy isn't our spin bowling coach. Lyon, already better than Swann and only behind Ajmal, will be there for a long time! His action is flawless.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | December 6, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    iv heard most spin bowlers say 1st couple of bowls give it as big a rip as you can , then guys are always aware of whats to follow. dpk

  • POSTED BY on | December 6, 2011, 13:07 GMT

    The thing that strikes me after reading this article (and others by Mallett and Terry Jenner) is why didn't those two spinners play in the same team more often for Australia? Jenner coached the best legspin bowler of all-time in Warne, and mentored other up-and-coming spinners before his untimely death this year. Mallett has given similar mentoring to Swann and other spinners. Both Mallett and Jenner have proven themselves to be wonderful coaches, a pity that their playing records do not do their talent and knowledge of their crafts more justice.

  • POSTED BY L.P.Grace on | December 6, 2011, 11:51 GMT

    A beautiful bowler, truly majestic. He does need to vary his speed more though, this could be achieved by adding a delivery that is less than 80km/h, somthing he is lacking.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | December 6, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    This kid has got talent but the Indians will have him for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Graeme Swann - the best off spinner right now couldn't do anything special against India. It's still early days for the young man. Some good words from Mallett indeed. I hope Lyon can stick around for a lot longer than Hauritz and Krezja.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | December 6, 2011, 9:59 GMT

    Great advice - Ashley Mallett continues to show he is one of the best minds in spin in this country. Lyon's doing well, so far - better than most expected, actually! I was watching him against NZ the other day, and he was always looking for a wicket - great flight & good variations in turn and pace. He got thumped a few times, but unlike previous spinners (Doherty springs to mind, although I still think he got a bit of a raw deal) used in recent time, he didn't lose heart. To be honest, if he has a career like Ashley Mallett, he'll have done his job quite well. As others here have stated, the real test for him will be on Boxing Day against the Indians - tough job, but if he can take 7 wickets on a deck like the Gabba, it sounds like he has the ability to at least challenge the likes of Dravid & co.

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | December 6, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    THE BIGGEST TEST OF LYON WILL BE AGAINST INDIA . IF HE SUCCEEDS IT (WHICH PROBABLITY IS VERY LESS ) THEN HE WILL BE THE BEST SPINNER .

  • POSTED BY Mervo on | December 6, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    Brilliant advice for any spinner and I really hope Lyon uses this and works with Mallett.

  • POSTED BY s.sreekant on | December 6, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    one thing he needs to do is bowl a bit slow , at times he bowls in the high 80's and need to attack the stumps , he bowls too outside off stump

  • POSTED BY Governor on | December 6, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    When will RW Marsh and John Inverarity advise Pat Howard to appoint Ashley Mallett as our spin bowling coach at the Centre of Excellence? Cricket Australia should be utilising his services to mentor Nathan Lyon and our budding off spinners. Instead, they are using Jon Davidson!!

  • POSTED BY Claydo78 on | December 6, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    to ramanujam sridhar, how can you say clarke is a better captain then ponting? its like comparing apples and oranges or night and day! ponting has won more test matches then any other captain in the history of test cricket, clarke has a long way to go before he can even be said in the same sentence as ponting let alone being a better captain! and while its awesome to see such a great bowler handing down his experiences to younger guys, its a bit early to say lyon is the best offie in the last 30 years. lyon has only played 6 test matches, lets see how he gets through the summer first and then get to 30 test matches.

  • POSTED BY dsig3 on | December 6, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    Hey lets calm down a little bit here. He is very promising but its early days yet. Best offspinner in 30 years is high praise indeed. Not bad for someone who couldnt even land a gig with sorry South Aus. If he comes through this summer without lowering his colors too much I think it will be a fantastic win. India will be targeting him but hopefully our quicks will make sure he is not under too much pressure.

  • POSTED BY on | December 6, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    Sensible advice. I am glad Lyon has started well and Mallett was a good bowler. I remember him spinning India to defeat at Chepauk when Redpath hung in there . He was also a brilliant fielder in the gully. I agree with Mallett about too much theory being the problem with spinners in Australia. Australia should forget looking for Shani Warne"s replacement and be happy that the doors of the spinner selection turnstile have stopped for now. Lyon seems to have a good head on his shoulders and is not afraid of giving the ball air. His greatest test will be in three weeks time , when the Indians will be in Australia. The Dravids, the Tendulkars and the Lakshmans, not to forget the gambhirs and Sehawags of this world would love his bowling. But if the pace attack ties them up, they may go after Lyon which may work in his favour. I am glad Clarke seems a better captain than Ponting. Lyon has come at the right time and a good pace attack will always help a decent spinner like Lyon. sridhar

  • POSTED BY Meety on | December 6, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    Seems that Lyon is ticking most boxes, & a pretty good thumbs up for Pup as captain. A bit of an up yours to Bill though!

  • POSTED BY ygkd on | December 6, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    I was taken by Lyon's action some time ago when all I'd seen of him was a picture or two. I thought he resembled Mallett, that is, an old-fashioned offie with both turn and accuracy, so I wasn't surprised he's gotten wickets. Old-fashioned off-spin qualities may be old-hat, but they're still qualities just the same. Only, they need time to develop and a good captain, as Mallett points out. So it is hard not to agree that Clarke's leadership could be just what Lyon needs. I thought Ponting never seemed to understand spinners much, but then when he had Warne in the team he never needed to.

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | December 6, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Great read. Hope Lyon and all young offspin bowlers give this a read.

  • POSTED BY maddinson on | December 6, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    brilliantly written, I always like classical offies and good to see Swann and Lyon doing well.

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | December 6, 2011, 3:24 GMT

    why doent ashley become the spin bowling coach

  • POSTED BY on | December 6, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    "That is how a true great and humble servant of cricket should be...... in this age of commercialization, its awesome to see, some one like Ashley's stature praising and giving advices to nathan......hope Nathan reads it. no ego,no grudge, no fuss.......wish our Great Indian Spinners like Bedi, Prasanna,Kumble also openly help others!"

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | December 6, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    is lyon the best spinner in the world already? maybe a bit early to state that but if he keeps this up he will be. he and ashwin are going to be big for their respective teams this sumemr

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | December 6, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    is lyon the best spinner in the world already? maybe a bit early to state that but if he keeps this up he will be. he and ashwin are going to be big for their respective teams this sumemr

  • POSTED BY on | December 6, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    "That is how a true great and humble servant of cricket should be...... in this age of commercialization, its awesome to see, some one like Ashley's stature praising and giving advices to nathan......hope Nathan reads it. no ego,no grudge, no fuss.......wish our Great Indian Spinners like Bedi, Prasanna,Kumble also openly help others!"

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | December 6, 2011, 3:24 GMT

    why doent ashley become the spin bowling coach

  • POSTED BY maddinson on | December 6, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    brilliantly written, I always like classical offies and good to see Swann and Lyon doing well.

  • POSTED BY Dashgar on | December 6, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Great read. Hope Lyon and all young offspin bowlers give this a read.

  • POSTED BY ygkd on | December 6, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    I was taken by Lyon's action some time ago when all I'd seen of him was a picture or two. I thought he resembled Mallett, that is, an old-fashioned offie with both turn and accuracy, so I wasn't surprised he's gotten wickets. Old-fashioned off-spin qualities may be old-hat, but they're still qualities just the same. Only, they need time to develop and a good captain, as Mallett points out. So it is hard not to agree that Clarke's leadership could be just what Lyon needs. I thought Ponting never seemed to understand spinners much, but then when he had Warne in the team he never needed to.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | December 6, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    Seems that Lyon is ticking most boxes, & a pretty good thumbs up for Pup as captain. A bit of an up yours to Bill though!

  • POSTED BY on | December 6, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    Sensible advice. I am glad Lyon has started well and Mallett was a good bowler. I remember him spinning India to defeat at Chepauk when Redpath hung in there . He was also a brilliant fielder in the gully. I agree with Mallett about too much theory being the problem with spinners in Australia. Australia should forget looking for Shani Warne"s replacement and be happy that the doors of the spinner selection turnstile have stopped for now. Lyon seems to have a good head on his shoulders and is not afraid of giving the ball air. His greatest test will be in three weeks time , when the Indians will be in Australia. The Dravids, the Tendulkars and the Lakshmans, not to forget the gambhirs and Sehawags of this world would love his bowling. But if the pace attack ties them up, they may go after Lyon which may work in his favour. I am glad Clarke seems a better captain than Ponting. Lyon has come at the right time and a good pace attack will always help a decent spinner like Lyon. sridhar

  • POSTED BY dsig3 on | December 6, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    Hey lets calm down a little bit here. He is very promising but its early days yet. Best offspinner in 30 years is high praise indeed. Not bad for someone who couldnt even land a gig with sorry South Aus. If he comes through this summer without lowering his colors too much I think it will be a fantastic win. India will be targeting him but hopefully our quicks will make sure he is not under too much pressure.

  • POSTED BY Claydo78 on | December 6, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    to ramanujam sridhar, how can you say clarke is a better captain then ponting? its like comparing apples and oranges or night and day! ponting has won more test matches then any other captain in the history of test cricket, clarke has a long way to go before he can even be said in the same sentence as ponting let alone being a better captain! and while its awesome to see such a great bowler handing down his experiences to younger guys, its a bit early to say lyon is the best offie in the last 30 years. lyon has only played 6 test matches, lets see how he gets through the summer first and then get to 30 test matches.