Nathan Lyon: Mr Underrated

Lachlan Ballingall Roar Guru

By Lachlan Ballingall, Lachlan Ballingall is a Roar Guru


17 Have your say

    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.


    (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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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • Roar Rookie

      September 5th 2017 @ 2:48am
      savage said | September 5th 2017 @ 2:48am | ! Report

      Easily,most versatile spinner in the world.he is threat to opposition in any type of condition.

    • September 5th 2017 @ 3:15am
      amreeka said | September 5th 2017 @ 3:15am | ! Report

      lol aussies hailing unnecessary he wud be pasted and obliterated by kohli and the roots and the amlas anyday

      • September 5th 2017 @ 7:17am
        JoM said | September 5th 2017 @ 7:17am | ! Report

        Really? I seem to remember Australia playing a series in India just a few months ago, but I don’t remember Kohli obliterating any of our bowlers.

        • September 5th 2017 @ 8:21am
          rock86 said | September 5th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

          He mustn’t have a TV, radio or the internet to have caught that series, oh wait…..

        • September 5th 2017 @ 9:09am
          Ouch said | September 5th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

          Kohli didn’t do anything in that series except enhance his reputation as a goose.

          • September 5th 2017 @ 11:37am
            AGordon said | September 5th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report


      • September 5th 2017 @ 8:26am
        Liam said | September 5th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

        Short memory.

      • September 5th 2017 @ 11:20am
        AGordon said | September 5th 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report

        I thought the Roar only allowed sensible comments?

      • September 5th 2017 @ 12:03pm
        Basil said | September 5th 2017 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

        come on please, back to the Cricinfo forum for you…

    • September 5th 2017 @ 5:42am
      Mike Dugg said | September 5th 2017 @ 5:42am | ! Report

      He has been both underrated and overrated at various times over the years. Hopefully this year is when he’s consistent throughout and we won’t be calling for his head at the end of the ashes.

    • September 5th 2017 @ 9:36am
      jameswm said | September 5th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      Some averages for finger spinners playing in tests in Australia, which is considered a tough place for finger spinners:

      Swann – 8 tests, 22 wickets at 52
      Murali – 5 tests, 12 wickets at 75
      Harbhajan – 4 tests, 9 wickets at 73
      Dan Vettori – 12 tests, 37 wickets at 40
      Lyon – 32 tests, 118 wickets at 34

      One would reasonably expect Lyon to be a lot more of a factor than say, Moeen Ali.

      Hazelwood similar to Broad or maybe a bit ahead.

      Starc ahead of Anderson (who averages 38 in Australia).

      Cummins way ahead of Woakes as 3rd seamer.

      • Roar Guru

        September 5th 2017 @ 10:50am
        Giri Subramanian said | September 5th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        You missed out Ashwin who averages 54 in Australia after 7 tests.

      • September 5th 2017 @ 11:32am
        Mike Dugg said | September 5th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

        James, again, we shall see if those pace bowlers are actually all fit and ready to go at the same time.

        • September 5th 2017 @ 1:27pm
          jameswm said | September 5th 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

          Sure Mike, but all 3 are expected to be fit and ready to go for the first test. Ditto Pattinson, who would have to be the best fast bowler in the world not making his team’s side.

    • Roar Guru

      September 5th 2017 @ 10:49am
      Giri Subramanian said | September 5th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      Lyon has been one of the best right arm fingers spinners over the last 10-15 years. He has been underrated by few Aussie fans, which is really sad. He bowled brilliantly in India and has followed it up with great performance in Bangladesh. He surely is in line to take 400 test wickets at the least.

    • September 5th 2017 @ 11:36am
      AGordon said | September 5th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

      I think a huge part of Lyon’s success has to come down to great self belief and determination to improve. I don’t recall Lyon having a “form slump” or his bowling regressing. On the contrary, he has consistently learnt and adapted which makes him such a good bowler today. As Giri pointed out, in another post, this guy is starting the reach his peak after having done the apprenticeship and should be solid gold for the next 5 or 6 years.

      His Test captains have been Clarke and Smith, neither of whom showed any great ability to manage his style of bowling. That seems to be changing and as more confidence is shown, his bowling improves, takes more wickets, etc.

      He will be a critical piece in this years Ashes series. Can’t wait to see how he goes

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