Nathan Lyon: Mr Underrated

Lachlan Ballingall Roar Pro

By , Lachlan Ballingall is a Roar Pro

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    It is pretty hard to dislike Nathan Lyon. Let’s be real, he is a great story.

    From the curator of the Adelaide Oval to someone who has taken over 250 Test wickets, there’s a feel-good factor to this man’s way of making the big stage.

    I suppose what makes it better is the fact he keeps proving people wrong. As I sat there watching him raise the ball for his fifth wicket in Chittagong, a certain situation reappeared in my head.

    It was late last year when there were calls for this man to be dropped from the Test side. Many within the public just didn’t see him performing well enough on a consistent basis to be considered Australia’s number one spin option in the Test arena.

    Well, it’s fair to say since then he has certainly put those embarrassing calls to bed.

    He was superb in India taking 19 wickets at an average of 25.26 in four Test matches. He’s backed that up thus far with his performances against Bangladesh in the one a bit Test matches he has played in.

    The first Test saw him claim nine scalps, and his five wickets on the opening day of the second Test is a reminder that this is a bowler that has come of age.

    He has now overtaken Jason Gillespie’s 259 Test wickets which is a further indication on just how far he has come since debuting back in Galle all those years ago.

    The pitch offered absolutely nothing to the bowlers, including the spinners, on the opening day of the final Test match of the Bangladesh series. For Lyon to have no spin to work with and still deceive some very good players which included an in-form Tamim Iqbal shows this is a man who has developed a skillset which doesn’t just rely on the off break.

    nathan-lyon-cricket-australia-2017

    (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

    He found a way on the opening day in Chittagong to beat the batsmen with the straighter one. Out of the five wickets he took, four of them were lbw. On a pitch that offered no turn for the entire day, to beat the batsmen in such fashion when they knew after facing a few balls there were no demons in the pitch, that is just a remarkable effort.

    Apart from Pat Cummins in his opening spell, no one really offered a threat with the exception of Lyon for the entire day. There’s a good opportunity for him today to finish with a few more wickets seeing as Bangladesh are only six down, and he’s bowling superbly so he has every chance.

    All the talk over recent years has mainly been around the fast bowlers, but there’s no denying that Lyon has had just as big of an impact. He gives them something others can’t which makes him an invaluable part of the Test setup.

    What confuses most who understand how good of a bowler Lyon is for the Australian Test side is just how underrated he is to opposition sides. One does sort of get the feeling that no one really takes his threat seriously because of the likes of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, but he’s just as important.

    Every over he bowls from now until the Ashes is crucial. He’s the secret weapon going into that series because there’s no denying the English will be looking to nullify the threat of the quicks, so it certainly will work to his advantage.

    But, what the English, like many fail to acknowledge is he has taken over 250 Test wickets. If I were opposition sides going into a series against Australia, Lyon would be one of my first talking points.

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