January 12, 2012

The problems with Lyon and Ashwin

The lead spinners on both sides have been under par during the first two Australia-India Tests
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Ryan Harris will adequately fill the injured James Pattinson's place in Perth, and the Australian fast bowlers will have the Indians hopping about at the WACA Ground, on the fastest pitch on earth. While India have been on the back foot, Zaheer Khan, the clever left-armer, who conceals his pace so well, and Ishant Sharma have bowled manfully. However, the rest of the Indian attack has been abysmal, impressing about as much as a limp handshake at a woodchoppers' reunion.

This lacklustre bowling performance included offspinner R Ashwin, whose bowling has been all over the place. In fact, the spin bowling on both sides has been ordinary. Both Ashwin and Nathan Lyon have disappointed, and their figures reflect how they have operated in the first two Test matches.

Lyon promises much, in that he is not afraid to give the ball air. He spins hard and bowls an attacking line outside the right-hander's off stump. However, he also bowls from way too wide on the bowling crease, thus creating a huge angle in to the right-hander. Delivering from so wide on the crease, Lyon cannot afford to pitch too close to off stump, because on that angle, landing just outside off stump, the ball is going to miss off stump. The Indian batsmen have been aware of this, and have aimed to take him down, whipping the ball to the leg side almost at will. To compensate, Lyon has been forced to land too wide outside off stump - in which case, if he errs in length, he is punished through the off side. In Melbourne and Sydney, he sometimes came around the wicket to create an "away" angle to the right-handers, but he'd be far better off staying over the wicket and operating from a position on the crease closer to the stumps. Then he would curve away from the right-handers and spin back, and start to cause the Indians some concern.

After two Tests he has taken 2 for 180, and the two men he has dismissed have been tailenders, one caught brilliantly in the deep by Dave Warner and the other falling to a dubious lbw decision.

As for Ashwin, he bowls the odd good offbreak, a ball with dipping flight, like the splendid delivery that deceived Michael Hussey at the MCG - only for Rahul Dravid to wake up too late at slip to latch on to a dolly of a catch. But Ashwin bowls too many of those silly leg-floaters, which he calls the "Soduku* ball". Ashwin learnt to bowl the delivery - along the lines of Ajantha Mendis' finger-flicked offerings - in the backstreets of Chennai with a tennis ball. But unlike the Australians Jack Iverson and Johnny Gleeson, and Mendis himself, all of whom developed finger-flicked deliveries, Ashwin gets next to no purchase on his Soduku ball. He "rolls" the delivery in similar fashion to ex-England left-armer Ashley Giles, who seemingly got about as much purchase on a cricket ball as you would need to take the fluff off a peach.

The Soduku has got Ashwin two wickets this series, both times that of Lyon, Australia's resident No. 11, who cannot possibly be looking at the ball out of the hand, because Ashwin telegraphs it. Also, Ashwin bowls this ball a lot straighter than his stock offbreak, and because of the number of Soduku balls he bowls in any one over, he tends to get too straight too often with the offie.

The way in which Ashwin sneaks in the Soduku ball and other variations, which are either far slower or much faster than his normal stock offbreak, smacks of having played too much of T20

Saqlain Mushtaq, the man who invented the doosra, did a similar thing. To right-hand batsmen, he bowled the doosra on the line of the stumps, and since he overdid this particular delivery, he got into the habit of bowling his offbreak on a straight line as well, which eventually affected the regularity of his wicket-taking. It was as if he had forgotten that the offbreak, which was his stock ball, and the one that got him so many more victims than any other type of delivery, has to be bowled on an attacking line.

On a pitch that offered bounce and turn for the spinners on days three and four in Sydney, both Lyon and Ashwin were unimpressive. Ashwin bowled through a day on which Michael Clarke, Hussey and Ricky Ponting dominated, but he bowled very defensively and was worked through the leg side too easily.

You look at the way Ashwin goes about his craft and there is precious little energy through the crease. He depends greatly on his clever fingers and wrist. He gets good purchase on the ball, but his timing has to be spot-on, and he cannot achieve that timing with the help of his action, for there is hardly any energy there at all. There is a total reliance on fingers and wrist.

The way in which he sneaks in the Soduku ball and other variations, which are either far slower or much faster than his normal stock offbreak, smacks of having played too much of T20, where a spinner looks to duck under the radar and get away without getting murdered.

Both Ashwin and Lyon have a lot of soul-searching to do, going into the Perth Test. Ashwin is certain to play, for India are desperately short of bowlers. And though Ashwin moves lumberingly in the field, he looks a well-organised batsman, perhaps good enough to win a place on batting alone in this brittle Indian line-up. It would help immeasurably if he could bring his bowling up to speed. So far this series he has taken 3 for 81, 1 for 60 and 0 for 157 - 4 for 298, or 74 runs per wicket.

Australia have to stick with Lyon, but in doing so they must get the young man the proper advice, otherwise he will struggle. While he looked good against New Zealand, the wickets he got were mostly cheap ones - of players hitting out with ridiculous slogs and being caught in the outfield. What I've liked about Lyon is his willingness to get the ball above the eyeline - but that strategy has to be employed against all batsmen, not just the mugs at nine, ten and Jack.

Lyon is fortunate indeed that he has come into this Australia team with Clarke at the helm. Already Clarke has shown good promise as a leader; I think he is the best Australian Test captain since Mark Taylor. He is proactive and has the instinct and intuitive nous for changing the bowlers at the right time and for placing the field just right. As do all good captains, Clarke makes things happen on the field. Unlike leaders who tend to let the game meander along, Clarke continually tries to change the flow, to break the rhythm of the batsmen, so that a substantial partnership is always a tough ask for the opposition.

For Lyon, Clarke's astute and imaginative captaincy will help enormously, for Clarke is a great encourager of his men. And he sets good fields for Lyon: he gets the off-side field placing right, and that's important for any offspinner, for you need the right-hander to be trying to hit against the offbreak, so you might snare him bowled through the gate, caught at slip, or lure him into offering a catch on the leg side.

Ashwin doesn't have a leader of Clarke's flair to help him. MS Dhoni is undoubtedly a cricketer of exceptional ability, but as captain he doesn't try to make things happen. He allows Ashwin to bowl too straight, and he sets poor fields for the young man, allowing easy singles.

The euphoria of Clarke's triple-century, Ponting's courageous 134, and Hussey's brilliant 150 at the SCG, and the brilliance of the Australian fast bowling cannot be allowed to paper over the cracks of a flawed performance by Lyon. But he is young and enthusiastic, and with the right guidance can get back on track almost immediately. If he misses the Perth Test it could provide him with the chance to get his angles right in the nets in time for Adelaide.

* 12.03GMT, January 12: The spelling of R Ashwin's Soduku ball has been changed. It was previously spelt as Sudoku

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 Miandad280 on | January 13, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Brilliant and thoroughly enjoyable critique of off-spin and off-spinners from a master. Would love to read an article from Ashley Mallet on the Saeed Ajmal-Graeme Swann rivalry as it plays out in the upcoming Eng-Pak series. That would be a treat.

  • POSTED BY samrao on | January 13, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    Ashwin undoubtably has great potential with good variations and more variation while Lyon lacks penetration but its early days for them. What happened to Jason Kreza ?

  • POSTED BY Buggsy on | January 13, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    @Elphenomeno, the author is right, Dhoni is poor test captain at best. His flaws have been covered up by some exceptional performances by the batting up until England but now that they're failing he's really becoming exposed for what he is. An ODI specialist.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 1:24 GMT

    There is little history of finger spinners doing well in Australia. Certainly not in my life time. Wrist spinners have been far more successful. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any on the horizon for Australia.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | January 13, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    @ ElPhenomeno - so its alright for Indians to state the bleeding obvious about Dhoni's captaincy, but an Ozzy can't? I can't wait for you next comment (I won't be holding my breathe!).

  • POSTED BY Paddy83 on | January 13, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    for those people commenting on soduku/sudoku spelling - please read the article properly!!

  • POSTED BY Wozza-CY on | January 12, 2012, 22:17 GMT

    A good article & like other posts here I'd suggest AM is the man to give Lyon the advice he needs. I'd also like to hear his thoughts on Steve O'Keefe and or any other potential spinners in domestic cricket today. There have been a few names floated recently, Holland, Boyce, Beer etc. & Terry Jenner was doing a lot of work prior to his passing. So CA....who is doing that work now & what are we doing to prepare our next generation of test spinners? Considering Lyon was spotted by Darren Berry in the nets...we can assume the answer is.. not a lot!

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    @Lilian Thomson: Talking about Indian bowling, forget Ashwin for a moment, Ishaan Sharma has in his last 9 Test Innings has taken just 8 wickets giving away 572 Runs @ 71.50 Runs per wicket [* 235 for 3 in the first 2 tests @ 78.33 each]. If 2 of the teams 4 main bowlers give away 70+ runs for each wicket, team india can kiss the Test series good bye from now itself. HOWEVER, Abhimunya Mithun in his Last 3 test innings in 2011 has given away 116 Runs for 3 wickets @ 38.66 Runs per wicket - hence he is a much better gamble. Ishaant has been a total flop except for his speed only.

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    Ashwin I hope you are NOT reading this !

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    I agree with the author. I also seen sentiments expressed by Indian fans about the pitch, a quality bowler can do better than what Ashwin has done in the second test

  • POSTED BY Miandad280 on | January 13, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Brilliant and thoroughly enjoyable critique of off-spin and off-spinners from a master. Would love to read an article from Ashley Mallet on the Saeed Ajmal-Graeme Swann rivalry as it plays out in the upcoming Eng-Pak series. That would be a treat.

  • POSTED BY samrao on | January 13, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    Ashwin undoubtably has great potential with good variations and more variation while Lyon lacks penetration but its early days for them. What happened to Jason Kreza ?

  • POSTED BY Buggsy on | January 13, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    @Elphenomeno, the author is right, Dhoni is poor test captain at best. His flaws have been covered up by some exceptional performances by the batting up until England but now that they're failing he's really becoming exposed for what he is. An ODI specialist.

  • POSTED BY on | January 13, 2012, 1:24 GMT

    There is little history of finger spinners doing well in Australia. Certainly not in my life time. Wrist spinners have been far more successful. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any on the horizon for Australia.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | January 13, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    @ ElPhenomeno - so its alright for Indians to state the bleeding obvious about Dhoni's captaincy, but an Ozzy can't? I can't wait for you next comment (I won't be holding my breathe!).

  • POSTED BY Paddy83 on | January 13, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    for those people commenting on soduku/sudoku spelling - please read the article properly!!

  • POSTED BY Wozza-CY on | January 12, 2012, 22:17 GMT

    A good article & like other posts here I'd suggest AM is the man to give Lyon the advice he needs. I'd also like to hear his thoughts on Steve O'Keefe and or any other potential spinners in domestic cricket today. There have been a few names floated recently, Holland, Boyce, Beer etc. & Terry Jenner was doing a lot of work prior to his passing. So CA....who is doing that work now & what are we doing to prepare our next generation of test spinners? Considering Lyon was spotted by Darren Berry in the nets...we can assume the answer is.. not a lot!

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    @Lilian Thomson: Talking about Indian bowling, forget Ashwin for a moment, Ishaan Sharma has in his last 9 Test Innings has taken just 8 wickets giving away 572 Runs @ 71.50 Runs per wicket [* 235 for 3 in the first 2 tests @ 78.33 each]. If 2 of the teams 4 main bowlers give away 70+ runs for each wicket, team india can kiss the Test series good bye from now itself. HOWEVER, Abhimunya Mithun in his Last 3 test innings in 2011 has given away 116 Runs for 3 wickets @ 38.66 Runs per wicket - hence he is a much better gamble. Ishaant has been a total flop except for his speed only.

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    Ashwin I hope you are NOT reading this !

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    I agree with the author. I also seen sentiments expressed by Indian fans about the pitch, a quality bowler can do better than what Ashwin has done in the second test

  • POSTED BY ElPhenomeno on | January 12, 2012, 17:17 GMT

    "Ashwin doesn't have a leader of Clarke's flair to help him." - Some of these writers are so gullible its sad. Dhoni is a world cup winning captain who's had an amazing record before england series. 6 tests later Michael clarke is an astute captain (oh and with flair) and dhoni is not even on par with him. Bravo Ashley Mallett!!! Just let me know when is your next article coming. Waiting with baited breath.

  • POSTED BY nkoch on | January 12, 2012, 16:33 GMT

    great insightful analysis. Now, someone please make a copy, hand it over to Ashwin and make him read it. The fact is, Ashwin has too few variations to be a successful test bowler on spinner unfriendly tracks of Australia.

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 16:18 GMT

    everybody keeps saying saqlain invented the doosra. he is the best off spinner i have ever seen but he did not invent it. SONNY RAMADHIN FROM TRINIDAD was the 1st off spinner to bowl the doosra in the 50s. after him it disappeared. saqlain brought it back and mastered it in the 90s.

  • POSTED BY Max_Broder on | January 12, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    A spinner will be successful only if he bowls an attacking line and length, and not be afraid to toss the ball up and deceive the batsmen in flight. Both the bowlers - Ashwin in particular and to a lesser extent Lyon have not done this. And the wickets on which they bowled do not matter as variation and trickery as well as the guts to toss the ball up is required.... see Swann do this and get wickets even in seaming, bouncy tracks...

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | January 12, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    This article is brilliantly written and well researched, well done Mallet. Some classic lines too: "He "rolls" the delivery in similar fashion to ex-England left-armer Ashley Giles, who seemingly got about as much purchase on a cricket ball as you would need to take the fluff off a peach. "

  • POSTED BY jango_moh on | January 12, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    @LillianThomson, r u serious putting swann in the same bucket as kumble, warne and murali.... swann is good, but nowhere close to these guys...

  • POSTED BY SasiGladi on | January 12, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Yes it is agreed Ashwin havent bowled as per the expectation, but all the Oldies of Aussy cricket are playing the mind game by targetting Ashwin, even Ian blowing his horns indicating Ashwins small mistakes...I still have faith on Ashwin he has the character to bounce back he will rectify his mistakes and bowl well rest of the series....And it sounds very very silly by camparing Dhoni's capt comparing with clarke, as a capt Dhoni acheived all the heights no doubt he assisted many bowlers and gave them perfect support on and off the field...Aussy oldies dont knock sky by witnessing one single great innings by clark even we have witnessed several capt knocks wait for a while....

  • POSTED BY Migara on | January 12, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    "But Ashwin bowls too many of those silly leg-floaters" - Sorry Mr. Mallet, you don't understand the science of a doosra. And Mr. Mallet convieneitly forgets Ajmal and his doosras. @Lilan thompson: "Warne, Kumble, Murali and Swann", Sorry mate, Swann doesn't belon there at all. A class below the first three. Ashwin is a great find. Once he gets his radar right he will cause a lot of problems with his height.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | January 12, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    @LillianThomson. All of those spinners you mention had/have exceptional records outside Asia - the common denominator is that, apart from Warne, all of them have struggled in Australia. Murali averaged 75, Harbajhan 73, Swann 40, Kumble 38 - greats of yesteryear, such as Abdul Qadir, 61. And people talk about India as the graveyard for opposition spinner!?. Offspinners have rarely done well here, and Ashwin and Lyon, for all their excellent early-career performances, are finding out just how hard it can be.

  • POSTED BY abu316 on | January 12, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    @ravi_hari would like to know when sachin, dhoni n co got out to spinners often!

  • POSTED BY nachami on | January 12, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    Both the spinners toiled to get into this level and am sure they would know why they did like that and what should be done.... The pace bowlers could not break through beyond 4 wickets on a pitch which is supposed to assist fast! That too it helped only in the beginning. On the top of it, such an average performance by our batsmen both innings. Obviously, as a spinner, he could have done nothing other than trying too many things.. but did not click. He did pretty well in the first match. Am sure, he has to get his chances instead of talking about replacing, etc.. How do we build next line?

  • POSTED BY SouthPaw on | January 12, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    Ashwin, hope you are reading this!

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 10:43 GMT

    ' I think he is the best Australian Test captain since Mark Taylor.' With all due respect, Mr Mallett, isn't it a bit too early for that?

  • POSTED BY Krishna_M on | January 12, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    Lovely article by Ashley Mallett but being from Chennai one can't help but chuckle at the Sodukku (the sound that comes when you press the knuckles on your fingers) ball being called the Sudoku ball! Have to give him credit for at least giving it a go though.....

  • POSTED BY LillianThomson on | January 12, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    An excellent article about two very mediocre off-spinners. Really, people have been so dazzled by Warne, Kumble, Murali and Swann that they forget just how limited the role of spinners is outside Asia - they basically can only contain in the first three innings and will sometimes be able to spin their team to victory in the fourth innings. The ideal prototype for Test cricket (assuming that we will never see another Warne) is probably a wrist-spinner like Mushtaq Mohammad or even Shahid Afridi: a player who can bat at six or seven and average almost 40 with the bat, can field and can also bowl legspin both to contain (days 1-4) and to attack on a wearing pitch on day 5. The closest modern example was probably Michael Bevan, but Shane Warne rendered him redundant. But really, Lyon has 2-180 half-way through this series and Ashwin has 4-298. How can a team afford such figures?

  • POSTED BY abu316 on | January 12, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Lol..when your team is 2-0 up I guess u own the bragging rights .... That's all that I think about this article..seriously clarke t best leader already? He has just started and is enjoying t honey moon period ..wait til he goes to t sub continent ..the author would do well to see dhoni s record prior to t england series ..he was compared with t all time great captains back then..and we all saw how clarke turned' pup' during the t20 wc final against england..lol..think abt it..the poms had got to wc finals thrice before that and no opposition captain let them win one..! And ur astute leader had no answer to the poms in a wc final? Roflmao!

  • POSTED BY passionsoflife on | January 12, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    Brilliant article; hats off to the writer. Ashwin lacks the zip off the pitch, probably because of not enough body behind the deliveries. Harbhajan got his slow flighted deliveries to take off in the 2001 series against Australia. We need similar skills here.

  • POSTED BY ravi_hari on | January 12, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    Only a spinner can understand a spinner! Perfect article and every spinner including Lyon and Ashwin should read this, if they want to secceed. ODI and T20 have killed the penetrative outlook of a spinner. Gone are the days when spinners are brought in to take wkts. Today spinners are used to up the bowling rate in tests and slow down the run rate in ODIs and T20s. In addition to what Mallet has said, I feel today's spinners, especially offies, have forgotten the art of flighting the ball.Secondly. they are bowling faster than required. At SCG Ashwin bowled most of his overs round the wkt and to a negative line to stop the run flow. You can use a Sehwag or Kohli to do it not your frontline spinner. Lyon needs a little more variation and use of crease to tempt Indians into committing mistakes. Sachin, Laxman & Dhoni have fallen to spinners quite often, so Lyon has a chance to repeat the same. If spinners start taking wkts, captains also will have faith in them. Swann is a live example.

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | January 12, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    Ashwin bowling has been disappointing this series and his batting has been good. Though this is is a plus for India. If only he can attack more in his bowling.

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    Its too early to compare tried and tested Dhoni with Clarke with respect to captaincy... I think this is a silly article.. If Indian batsmen could put a score on the board u guys will see a true Dhoni and Ashwin.. Everytime they get out for a very low score and its quite difficult for a captain and bowler to set an attacking field and also its difficult for the bowler to bowl attacking lines specially for a spinner..

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    I stopped reading when this article said "Sudoku balls got two wickets for Ashwin, both of them Lyon". 1st inning MCG, Lyon was bowled through the gate by a turning offbreak. If the author makes up facts to suit his hypothesis, then why should a reader have faith in the validity of the article? I agree Ashwin has not been very good this series, same with Lyon. But I think that has just as much to do with the nature of the pitches than the quality of the bowling.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | January 12, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    Man I love his insights into spin bowling. He really makes the art seem so simple & so complicated at the same time. I like Lyon, but I would like to see O'Keefe get a gig, (that's not going to happen this summer). I agree that Clarke is developing into a fine captain & he is the closest sneak peak at what Warney would of been like as a captain! (no coincidence that Pup has spent a lot of time with him).

  • POSTED BY HatsforBats on | January 12, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    Again this begs the question; where's the spin bowling coach? Siddle & co have the experience of McDermott to call on, who does Lyon go to for guidance? As for Ashwin, his first priority should be fitness, he labours around the field like Boycott's grandma.

  • POSTED BY VinodGupte on | January 12, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    they must play ojha who is highly underrated. surely, he can't do any worse than ashwin while bowling?

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    Very good article and spot on. Best Indian spin bowler is Ojha, who will hopefully play in Adelaide. He can attack and defend. What Ashley calls as " Sudoku" is actually " Sodukku" in Tamil! Sodukku means " snapping the finger" ; This delivery is bowled by snapping the finger and hence the name; Apparently you are not a spinner in tennis ball cricket in chennai if you cant do sodukku. Some of them may sudoku also.

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | January 12, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    yeah but to be fair lyon really has had hardly any overs to build on and take wickets mainly because he hasnt had to. anyhow CA should employ ashlet mallett as the spin bowling coach, the fact that there isnt one is just insane

  • POSTED BY Kolpak1989 on | January 12, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    Pretty good article Ashley Mallett. As an offspinner myself it's great to get the views of former test players on the technical features of current players. Totally agree with your comments about Lyon needing to deliver the ball from closer in to the stumps and Clarke's captaincy being a helpful factor for a young offspinner.

  • POSTED BY nk7792 on | January 12, 2012, 3:40 GMT

    Good article, very good points made.

  • POSTED BY Ms.Cricket on | January 12, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    Not may choices for both teams to replace these two. Heaven help cricket if you go back to Hauritz or Harbhajan. Lyon and Ashwim must be given more opportunities to show their wares.

  • POSTED BY straight_drive4 on | January 12, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    Ashley - i think you are the man that needs to guide this youngster. we appreciate the fact that you know what you are talking about, but one thing we dont like in australia is people who critisize without offering help. ring CA and offer your services as the country and this spinner certainly need you.

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    Good article. But there's a spelling wrror. I wish to point out that it's NOT SUDOKU ball, but SODUKKU ball. SUDOKU is a game of numbers whilst the word SODUKKU means flick/snap of fingers which is what the name is in Tamil for that ball. And, All of us who play street cricket have that ball, as it is a tennis ball delivery. It is difficult to bowl the sodukku ball with a hard cricket ball (May be I am a girl so I found it taxing on my fingers - but my brother plays state level matches), especially with a Kookaburra ball that is old. When I went to Canada, I happened to pick one up, and it does not help the spinners even when it's new (Aussie spinners can spin it because they grew up with it). So, it's natural he'll struggle on his first tour. Harbhajan struggled always with that brand of balls. Murali was an offspinner who did not care, as he used his wrists more.

  • POSTED BY Joji_ on | January 12, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    Wow, such a long article on modern off-spinners and no mention of Ajmal!! Kudos to Ashley !!

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  • POSTED BY Joji_ on | January 12, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    Wow, such a long article on modern off-spinners and no mention of Ajmal!! Kudos to Ashley !!

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    Good article. But there's a spelling wrror. I wish to point out that it's NOT SUDOKU ball, but SODUKKU ball. SUDOKU is a game of numbers whilst the word SODUKKU means flick/snap of fingers which is what the name is in Tamil for that ball. And, All of us who play street cricket have that ball, as it is a tennis ball delivery. It is difficult to bowl the sodukku ball with a hard cricket ball (May be I am a girl so I found it taxing on my fingers - but my brother plays state level matches), especially with a Kookaburra ball that is old. When I went to Canada, I happened to pick one up, and it does not help the spinners even when it's new (Aussie spinners can spin it because they grew up with it). So, it's natural he'll struggle on his first tour. Harbhajan struggled always with that brand of balls. Murali was an offspinner who did not care, as he used his wrists more.

  • POSTED BY straight_drive4 on | January 12, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    Ashley - i think you are the man that needs to guide this youngster. we appreciate the fact that you know what you are talking about, but one thing we dont like in australia is people who critisize without offering help. ring CA and offer your services as the country and this spinner certainly need you.

  • POSTED BY Ms.Cricket on | January 12, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    Not may choices for both teams to replace these two. Heaven help cricket if you go back to Hauritz or Harbhajan. Lyon and Ashwim must be given more opportunities to show their wares.

  • POSTED BY nk7792 on | January 12, 2012, 3:40 GMT

    Good article, very good points made.

  • POSTED BY Kolpak1989 on | January 12, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    Pretty good article Ashley Mallett. As an offspinner myself it's great to get the views of former test players on the technical features of current players. Totally agree with your comments about Lyon needing to deliver the ball from closer in to the stumps and Clarke's captaincy being a helpful factor for a young offspinner.

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | January 12, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    yeah but to be fair lyon really has had hardly any overs to build on and take wickets mainly because he hasnt had to. anyhow CA should employ ashlet mallett as the spin bowling coach, the fact that there isnt one is just insane

  • POSTED BY on | January 12, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    Very good article and spot on. Best Indian spin bowler is Ojha, who will hopefully play in Adelaide. He can attack and defend. What Ashley calls as " Sudoku" is actually " Sodukku" in Tamil! Sodukku means " snapping the finger" ; This delivery is bowled by snapping the finger and hence the name; Apparently you are not a spinner in tennis ball cricket in chennai if you cant do sodukku. Some of them may sudoku also.

  • POSTED BY VinodGupte on | January 12, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    they must play ojha who is highly underrated. surely, he can't do any worse than ashwin while bowling?

  • POSTED BY HatsforBats on | January 12, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    Again this begs the question; where's the spin bowling coach? Siddle & co have the experience of McDermott to call on, who does Lyon go to for guidance? As for Ashwin, his first priority should be fitness, he labours around the field like Boycott's grandma.