Lyon is ready to prove that he is no one hit wonder
Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon has admitted that he feels swamped and overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of bowling advice that has come his way over the past year.
Lyon impressed the cricketing world in his debut Test series against Sri Lanka, and after taking 42 wickets in 13 Test matches at an average of 27.83, people still believe that they have the answer to helping him improve those figures.
Since his latest Test match, Lyon has been called by strangers, who tell him the secrets to dismissing Indian batsmen, and during the Australia A tour of England, the off-spinner stated that his bowling failed to live up to expectations since he became “muddled” by the advice given to him by national selector John Inverarity.
It is also believed that Lyon has received technical guidance by pace bowler Mitchell Johnson.
Having been below par in his recent Sheffield Shield matches as well, Lyon announced that he would only be listening to a small group of people, which includes South Australia coach Darren Berry and spin coaches Craig Howard and John Davison.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, Lyon said: “It’s been pretty difficult to be honest with you, to come into the thing and no-one say anything at the start, then come seven Tests you have people ringing you up and stuff. I’ve been fortunate to have Darren Berry and Craig Howard and John Davison on my side, and having that close unit together, really being able to work with each other. We’ve got that little group there where we all trust each other and are on the same page heading in the right direction. Everyone has their own opinion and stuff, but I’ve really tried to block that out and just worry about working with the people I really trust and know where my game is at and where I need to get to. I just rely on Darren Berry, Craig Howard and John Davison now really.”
Inverarity noted that he was starting to get worried about Lyon’s failure to get wickets, and if this cycle continues on, then it will only be a matter of time before he is replaced by upcoming spinner Jon Holland.
“We hold Nathan in very high regard, he’s a bowler with a lovely action, he gets drop and bounce and turn, for six months he got a bit muddled and he didn’t bowl well on the A tour, and he didn’t bowl well in Brisbane [against Queensland]. But in Adelaide he bowled much better. On the first day of the Shield game against Tasmania he bowled 30 overs, 0 for 90 in round figures. He got [Mark] Cosgrove dropped at mid-on, chest-high. He had [Alex] Doolan mistiming one to point and dropped, he had [Ricky] Ponting missed stumping. So he’s got 3 for 50 let’s say, and he might’ve picked up another couple. You can’t do much more than deceive someone in flight and they hit it chest high to mid-on,” Inverarity said.
Inverarity compared Lyon to pace bowler James Pattinson, whereby if the conditions are right for them, they excel, but if the conditions are not in their favour, then the opposite happens and they fail to have any impact whatsoever.
“You’ll often see with fast bowlers it can often be little technical things … with Nathan he had a lovely rhythm and good drop and bounce and turn, for whatever reason he lost it, lost his rhythm, and he got frustrated and then I think he was running in to bowl and he was thinking about where his front arm was and he was falling short. He’s practised now and is concentrating on where he’s landing it. James Pattinson last December bowled superbly, and in Brisbane last week he bowled fast, he swung it, was accurate, he was terrific. In the West Indies and England he was not the same bowler, he was very ordinary. He lost pace and rhythm and was ordinary. So these things happen, particularly with young bowlers,” Inverarity added.
Lyon knows that he has to prove himself to captain Michael Clarke in order to permanently keep his Test spot secured, and the off-spinner believes there will be no better opportunity to do this than in the upcoming series against South Africa, where the number one Test ranking hangs in the balance.
“Personal results always help, but we’ve really got a solid bowling group at the moment, we’ve got quality fast bowlers, probably the best in the world at the moment, and it’s really good working closely with Michael Clarke, he’s fantastic and just being able to know my role has been a massive help over the last 12 months. Being able to play in 13 Tests and being involved in 14 Tests was unbelievable. I’m pretty grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had, but I really need to grab the ones that come my way this summer and really try to move forward, keep trying to improve and keep trying to win games of cricket for Australia,” Lyon said.