Lance Gibbs tells Lyon to develop vigorous follow-through
Lance Gibbs, the West Indies offspinner who once held the world record for Test wickets, has suggested a more vigorous follow-through after delivery as an area in which Australia's offspinner Nathan Lyon should develop after watching him in action during the first Test against the West Indies at Bridgetown.
Lyon and Gibbs spoke in St Lucia earlier in the tour, but at that point Gibbs had not yet seen the younger man ply his trade in a Test. Having observed the five days of the match at Kensington Oval, won so dramatically by Australia on the final afternoon, Gibbs told ESPNcricinfo a certain snap was missing from the conclusion of Lyon's action.
"In the finish of his action he needs to cut his body in half as much as he can, give it everything with each delivery," Gibbs said. "His line and length is quite good, I could not judge too much about how he varies his pace, but in the finish of his action he seemed to be lacking something.
"On the fifth day of the game you should see something as far as spin is concerned, but he didn't really beat the bat, though he should have been spinning the ball away from the left-handers. If you're really giving it everything with your whole body, then you're going to see more spin."
Lyon managed figures of 1 for 113 in 42 overs at Bridgetown, returning only the wicket of Kemar Roach for his efforts. However, his analysis was no worse than that of the West Indies legspinner Devendra Bishoo, who also claimed only one wicket for the match and was hit out of the attack on the final day, as the part-time finger spin of Narsingh Deonarine was preferred.
Mindful of Trinidad's tendency for sharp turn and variable bounce, the West Indies selectors have bolstered their spin options by recalling the offspin of Shane Shillingford, who Gibbs said would spin the ball harder than Lyon while also varying his pace. Australia must also consider the option of playing the left-arm orthodox Michael Beer as a second spinner, a ploy not resorted to even on the dustbowl of Galle against Sri Lanka last year when Lyon debuted.
At times in Barbados Lyon's front arm did not seem to be leading off his action as strongly as it has on earlier occasions, while other observers have wondered whether his approach to the wicket is too straight. Earlier in the summer, Arthur had said he was working with Lyon on bringing his point of delivery a little closer to the stumps, to accentuate his drift away from the bat.
Nevertheless, Arthur and the national selector John Inverarity have both expressed happiness about how Lyon is developing. Arthur said that there remain areas for Lyon to improve, but all would follow given time, offering the reminder that the Adelaide-based offspinner is still a novice in terms of first-class experience.
"I'm really happy with where Nathan's at, he's worked extremely hard," Arthur said. "There's little facets of his game he needs to keep developing, and like any player in our side they've all got little facets that we're continually working on. He needs to do that, but he's a very good finger spinner.
"We must also realise he's only played 20 first-class games and I think 12 of them have been Test matches, so he's still learning his art in the toughest form of the game. He's going to be a very good spinner. We just have to keep monitoring Nathan, but I'm very happy with where he's at."
Edited by Kanishkaa Balachandran
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here