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News

Ashwin: Murphy '10 to 50 times better' than Lyon was on his first India tour

India offspinner also breaks down Kuhnemann's bowling action and explains why it was easier to play him in Ahmedabad

Nathan Lyon and his protege Todd Murphy discuss plans  •  Getty Images

Nathan Lyon and his protege Todd Murphy discuss plans  •  Getty Images

R Ashwin said that Australia's offspinner Todd Murphy was "10 to 50 times better" than Nathan Lyon was when he first came to India in 2013.
Murphy, with 14 wickets from four Tests, was only behind Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Lyon in the wicket-takers' list in his maiden Test series.
"Nathan Lyon did pick up 20 wickets in this series. However, the pressure was built by other spinners too. Todd Murphy had a sensational debut series," Ashwin said on his YouTube channel. "You might wonder what is there to talk about Todd Murphy. This is his first tour to India. I remember many spinners' first tour to India.
"Nathan Lyon came here first in 2013. He went to Sri Lanka before that. Todd Murphy came here 10 to 50 times better than how Nathan Lyon came here on his first Test tour," Ashwin said. "I am not saying that he is a better bowler in terms of quality, skill, or performance. I am talking about his capacity and composure to be able to bowl around the stumps and over the stumps."
Lyon, in 2013, had taken 15 wickets in three Tests and, like Murphy, had registered a seven-wicket haul.
"In the Ahmedabad Test, he [Murphy] bowled most of his overs from over the stumps," Ashwin said. "Until then, he was bowling around the stumps. But from both around and over, he looked equally comfortable. He was able to attack the stumps while bowling from around the wicket as well as over the wicket.
"Nathan Lyon's strongest feature is that he uses Mitchell Starc's footmark really well. He bowls the sixth-stump and seventh-stump line really well. That has been his bread and butter. That's how he has built his ten-year career.
"Because in a country like Australia, there won't be much happening for the spinners from the centre of the surface. He has to make things happen from the footholes only. His bowling, his pace, his trajectory and his body position are all attuned to that.
"Whereas Todd Murphy, being the current-generation spinner that he is, is attacking the stumps from over the stumps. He is also bowling from wide of the stumps. He is going from around the wicket and attacking the stumps. And he is also taking the odd ball away. He is not only bowling the fast back-of-the-length delivery but also has an odd slower one. That flight is definitely catching the batter by surprise. It's not that easy to go on the back foot and play him. So a lot of credit to Todd Murphy."
Ashwin also praised Matthew Kuhnemann, who made his debut in the Test match in Delhi.
"There were Mitchell Swepson and Ashton Agar in the squad but he [Matthew Kuhnemann] flew down as a replacement once Swepson went to Australia after his wife gave birth to a baby," Ashwin said. "Matthew Kuhnemann took a five-for [in Indore] and broke the game open for Australia.
"An interesting feature of his action is his loading. For Kuhnemann, his wrist breaks during his loading. So sometimes it will look like there is an elbow extension. But there is nothing like that in his action. But there is wrist involvement, for sure.
"Because of this wrist involvement, the ball will come down faster. Since there is extra involvement of his wrists, the disadvantage is that since the wrist is coming down, and since there is not enough wrist and finger behind the ball, sometimes the ball comes down slowly.
"And if the wicket is slow, you can adjust and play him easily. I am saying this because I have also done this wrist-breaking in my career. However, he is getting that drop. He is a left-arm spinner on his first tour. He bowled really well in Delhi and Indore. Of course, the wicket in Ahmedabad was a bit tough to bowl. Even on that hard surface, he bowled really well."