Saturday, December 31, 2011

Would You Choose Nathan Lyon For The 2nd Test?

"I'm pretty loath to go into any Test match without a spinner," were the words from Australian Cricket Coach Mickey Arthur in response to suggestions that Australia could go into the Sydney Test with a 4 prong pace attack.This idea was headed up by the Australian Skipper Michael Clarke in the knowledge of the Indians struggles against it in Melbourne.

A cynic of statements in the press might overlook the support shown for Nathan Lyon by Arthur in the view that he is merely blowing a smoke screen for the Indians. Meaning Ryan Harris will be a definite starter in the 2nd Test. Though if his words are true, it sets up a lovely few days of debate over whether Clarke or Arthur gets their man chosen for Sydney
Let us look at the merits of both

The Case For Nathan Lyon ( Mickey Arthur )

Australia has been searching for a long term spinner in Test cricket since the retirement of Shane Warne. The performances of Lyon in the infancy of his career where he has taken 27 wickets at an average of 27.47 has fostered great belief in him. Duly to replace him with a 4th quick out of a desire to victimise an obvious Indian weakness against pace is near sighted on many levels. Mostly the variety that he adds to the Team with his spin, and on the basis of his performances he deserves his place. Dropping him would only serve to knock his confidence and mess with his development. Much in the manner that Australia has done with a glut of spinners in post Warne times.

Everyone knows the mastery of the Indians against spin, but his excellent performances in his career allows him the benefit of having his struggles in Melbourne brushed off as an aberration. Then the belief in him as a very talented spinner makes him deserving of having a second crack at the Indians

The Case For 4 Fast Bowlers ( Michael Clarke )

You only had to watch the Indians drift between milking Nathan Lyon to mauling him to realise the chances of him being a factor in the series are remote. Then giving further weight to him being left out is India's inadequacies against pace. Meaning that with the return of Australia's best fast bowler in Ryan Harris he would more than likely victimise them more than most

His exceptional 2011, where he took 15 wicket at 17.33 shows his immense threat

So in sport when you see an obvious weakness in the opposition why wouldn't you fully exploit it in this case by making it a 4 paceman attack?

In the knowledge that all four could bowl in short sharp spells with the benefit of rest. The retention of Lyon and his likely harsh treatment from the Indians is a double edged sword in the respect that he takes the pressure off the under fire Indian batsmen. That duly releases the foot that the Aussies have firmly on their collective throats at present and might give rise to them refinding their form. Plus with Lyon, as shown in Melboune where he was knocked out of the attack after 2 or 3 overs it means extra work for the three paceman and with it a reduction in the threat due to fatigue

Which effectively reduces the Australia to a 3 man attack with Lyon's likely impotence against batsmen who are like ducks in water when it comes to playing against spin of any calibre.


In truth the injury of Shane Watson, and his absence from the Team has given rise to this debate. For if he was in the side with his very refined medium fast swing bowling he would represent that 4th man of the pace arsenal. Meaning that Lyon's selection would be assured on the basis that with Watson being part of the team there would not be a need for another quick.

The fact that he is not in the Team makes the decision based on this

Would you pick a spinner for the sake of having a spinner, when you know more than likely he will be ineffective or would you add to a pace attack that ripped India to ribbons with arguably the best fast man Australia has?

1 comment:

  1. Australia is poised on building a winning combo for the future. The present three man pace attack is more than adequate to take care of the Indians if they perform similar to how they have done at the MCG. The SCG promises to assist pace only on day one and thereafter ease out and offer turn to the spinner on day 4 and five. In case Australia have to bowl last pace may not be the complete answer.

    One other scenario needs to be kept in mind. With an all pace attack, the batsmen will know tey will have no respite nor escape. So the better ones will figure out a way to deal with pacers which will render at least one of the paceman ineffective. When the spinner offers a deceptive escape route, the batsmen are likely to drop their guard against Nathan and may even try extravagant strokes to compensate for lack of runs against the pacemen. Many a times batsmen have fallen to lesser bowlers because of a lapse in concentration.

    Given these I think Australia wd do well to stick with Lyon through this series.