Home > Features >

Nathan Lyon: Australia’s go-to spinner in a pace-dominated attack

Nathan Lyon has gradually become the No 1 spinner for Australia © Getty Images
Nathan Lyon has gradually become the No 1 spinner for Australia © Getty Images

By Bharath Ramaraj

Traditional off-spinners without a doosra relying on skills like flight, guile and subtle changes of pace are not looked upon kindly by modern day national selectors. However, Nathan Lyon of Australia, using those supposedly prosaic skills, has climbed up the ladder to gradually become Australia’s go-to man in the spin department. In fact, he deserves a pat or two on the back for making an impression in a pace dominated bowling line-up of Australia.

When Lyon made his Test debut against New Zealand at the Gabba in 2010-11, just like Peter Taylor in the late 1980s, he was an unknown quantity. He was picked from the obscurity of being one among the Adelaide ground staff in 2010 to donning the Australian Test cap. His rise to the top is truly a rags to riches story.

Now, Lyon is no Graeme Swann to have that freakish ability to generate mind blowing revolutions on the ball. But just like any other fine spinner, he has a stock delivery in the traditional Australian mould of bowling outside the off-stump and teasing the batsmen to drive through covers. He also spins it hard which is such a key factor for any off-spinner to succeed.

In the just concluded Ashes 2013-14 series against England, on the face of it, the five-for he took at MCG in the fourth Test may not look great, as it can be argued that English batsmen gifted him wickets on a platter. But if we scratch the surface, underneath, one can notice that just like an enchantress, he enticed them to the deadly trap by inviting them to play shots. The best spinners in the game are always prepared to get hit to take wickets. Even in the series in England when they recalled him after the experiment with Ashton Agar flopped miserably, he held his own. He also showed versatility by bowling from around the wicket and trouble Kevin Pietersen with a strong on-side field in that series. In particular, at Chester le Street in the third Test, he bowled with remarkable control and earned every one of his seven wickets in the game.

Undoubtedly, he plays a key role in Australia’s pace dominated bowling line-up. If the pacers were the catalyst for England’s demise, then Lyon has gone about doing a holding job in a fine fashion. The pacers can’t bowl forever and they need some rest in between. This is where a spinner’s role becomes doubly important. A spinner also has to look like taking wickets and Lyon washed away that challenge too with aplomb. Remember, along with Peter Siddle, he was Australia’s top wicket-taker in the calendar year of 2013. He snared 42 wickets last year.

Since the retirement of Shane Warne, Australia have searched nook and cranny of their domestic cricket for a fine spinner with no real success. But in Nathan Lyon, they may have just found a spinner who bowls with equanimity and a calm head on his shoulders and is prepared to get hit for a few sixes from the willowy wielders in order to tempt them to their doomsday. He has cemented his place as Australia’s lead spinner and from their perspective, he will continue to stick to his strengths and pen an indelible mark in the Test arena.

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI

Videos

Australia perpare for 1st Test against Pakistan

MS Dhoni rested, Virat Kohli as captain, and other points of interest from squad for first 3 India vs Sri Lanka ODIs

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: MS Dhoni gets much-needed break ahead of Australia tour

Virat Kohli becomes fastest to 20 ODI hundreds

A Pakistan all-time XI: A galaxy of captains

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 West Indies West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

AB de Villiers: What gets me going is finishing games for the team

Luke Ronchi seeks consistency ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

Australia to play an ODI in Ireland

Rajasthan U-19 player slams record 18 sixes in double ton

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Eden Gardens may host fourth ODI

Pakistan’s chances in ICC World Cup 2015 bleak: Mohammad Zahid

Quinton de Kock equals wicketkeeping record with six catches in South Africa vs New Zealand 1st ODI

MS Dhoni rested, Virat Kohli as captain, and other points of interest from squad for first 3 India vs Sri Lanka ODIs

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: MS Dhoni gets much-needed break ahead of Australia tour

Virat Kohli becomes fastest to 20 ODI hundreds

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Drink ginger tea to relieve a migraine naturally

Australia to play an ODI in Ireland

Allocate spectrum to telcos within 90 days after payment: Panel

Bigg Boss 8 Highlights: Sonali Raut’s double standards; Puneet Issar’s aggressive avatar

Box Cricket League 2014: All you need to know about the sports reality show

How BMI and BMR play a role in weight loss

Luke Ronchi seeks consistency ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

Microsoft to rebrand Nokia to Microsoft Lumia: Report

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here