West Indies v Australia, 2nd Test, Port of Spain April 14, 2012

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jabulani on April 16, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    Some people need to relaxe, Lance Gibbs is a legend of the game that is offering advice for Lyon to improve

  • Nathan on April 16, 2012, 13:54 GMT

    Geez some people need to remember Lyon has still not even played twenty first class games in his career. He's not gonna replace Warne but no one ever is. However if he can keep his average around 30 (especially given he will play half his games in Aus where conditions certainly don't favor offies) and keep things economical, he'll be doing his job. And that's what he's done so far. @front-foot-lunge - have you even seen Lyon bowl? Doesn't sound like it. @hhillbumper - yeah Hauritz was way better, as evidenced by his poorer test and first class averages. @jamesthewalldravid - don't comment on what you don't understand. Hate is a strong word and most Aus fans didn't hate murali, they just didn't respect him. Look at the reception he got from the Aus crowd when he played the tsunami appeal game at the MCG ... that's not hate. His continual whining and threats to boycott Aus (not to mention dodgy action!) didn't endear him to Aus crowds, but it's ridiculous to say it was hatred

  • Roo on April 16, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    @Beertjie... Haven't heard from you in a while?... Always well balanced thoughts on the game :) ... Re: O'Keefe - a bit like Finch, he had a few problems that niggled him early in the season & then managed to badly split the webbing in his bowling hand... It just wasn't a good season & hopefully he just shrugs it off & gets back on his bike... Time will tell...

  • Andrew on April 15, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    @Wefinishthis - I'm a big O'Keefe fan. However, SO'K for one reason or another, did not have a great Shield season this year. Dunno whether it was increased responsibilities, something amiss in the NSW dressing room, or just out of form - who knows. I must say that whilst he took more top order Pommy wickets than the rest of our spinners did, & he should of had the next crack at the Poms BEFORE Beer did, he didn't actually "run thru the Poms". He had a very good allround match, in an environment that suggested he could replicate things in a Test situation. As for Beer, I hoped he'd never get selected for Oz again after he got hammerred by an Indian development side for about 9 rpo about 9 mths ago. Since then though, his form has looked reasonable, & his FC stats have improved a lot. As for Lyon, he is way better than you think, & I think is a better spinner than SO'K (that's not to say SO'Ks superior batting wouldn't put him ahead IMO).

  • Mashuq on April 15, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    @Dubious, Cam Boyce doesn't aspire to be Warne or even McGill, but he is the best we've got for the near future - he may be ready for the Ashes in Australia in 2013-14, but I woudn't take him to England for that battle. Lyon needs to work hard in the future, as does SO'K who could find a place as an all-rounder if he can put last season behind him, get good advice and work hard. However, we don't need another Steve Smith!

  • mukesh on April 15, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    Lyon definitely has some talent , given the fact that guy has hardly any serious first class experience he has done well , and credit to Australian selectors for not dropping him , good luck to him

  • Chris on April 15, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    Lyon's biggest problem is that he is standing in the way of an actual spin bowler (who can bat as well) call Steve O'Keefe. Beer is just.. well.. an absolute joke of a bowler, plus he's only got a few years left anyway. Lyon is only good when the conditions and opposition suit him, otherwise he's a waste of runs. Warner and Clarke are better bowlers than Lyon. Ridiculous that O'Keefe was shunned during the ashes after he ran through England's batting lineup in a warmup game. We'd still be no.1 if the selectors took my advice.

  • Andrew on April 15, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    @JamesTHEwalldravid - enough mate! I acknowledged that Murali was still a fine bowler - end of story! As for Saqlain - he was brilliant but his form dropped off, you may wish to say it was because of his knees, but his form tailed away at about the same time batsmen realised that there was a difference in his technique when he bowled the doosra. Saqlain was a great offie, probably the godfather of the doosra & should be acknowledged accordingly - however, GOOD batsmen worked him out! @AKS286 - yes, yes Beer is the best, Beer is the best! Boring!

  • James on April 15, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    @ Meety Murali never got "found out", he was a threat till the end. He was not that good in Aus which has always been a tough place for off spinners. Add to that the hate he received there from fans, players & umpires was just unsportsmanlike and just not cricket. He was not great in India, but did better than Warne. This whole thing of having been found out is untrue. Same goes for Saqlean Mushtaq, for some reason people think he got "found out", but the truth is that he had serious problems with his knees. He played in pain throughout his career and The PCB did not do anything to help him when the injury first occurred. It was after he started playing county cricket that some level of help and relief was given to him. At the end of his career the damage to his knees started affecting his game dramatically. He no longer had that bite and lacked pace because he could not put his body into delivering the ball. He had two knee operations and could no longer play at the highest level.

  • Zaccharia on April 15, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    @hhillbumper--no, both Hauritz and Lyon are New South Welshmen who now ply their trade for other states. About time other Australian states started pulling their weight I reckon. Steve O'Keefe is from New South Wales too, as is Steve Smith but he's not really any good. Beer is a Victorian. Cameron Boyce, the young Queensland leg break bowler looks promising but Shane Warne he is not.

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