Former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan recently pointed out the differences in bowling styles of off-spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Nathan Lyon. He stated that the latter has a complete action which helps him extract turn from pitches that don't offer much assistance.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Sivaramakrishnan said Ashwin and Lyon can't be compared, and highlighted the dissimilarities in their actions.
"You can't compare Ashwin and Nathan Lyon, because they're different kinds of bowlers."
"Ashwin just bowls with his hand, he doesn't use his entire body to bowl. Lyon's action, you will see that his front foot is straight and his back foot is driving through towards the target that is the batsman. That movement is called the hip drive - the transition from the back leg to the front leg into the delivery."
'Nathan Lyon has the best body action of a spinner in world cricket today' - Sivaramakrishnan
Sivaramakrishnan lavished praise on Nathan Lyon's body action, terming it the best in the world among spinners at the moment.
"Lyon's body action is much much better, he's got the best body action of a spinner in world cricket today. That's why he is effective with his sidespin and overspin. They're calling it overspin because it doesn't turn too much on the first day, and they say it's sidespin when the ball starts turning."
Lyon extracted bounce and turn from a rather placid wicket at the Adelaide Oval in the first innings of the 1st Test against India. The 33-year-old had Cheteshwar Pujara in trouble for the majority of the No. 3 batsman's long vigil at the crease, and dismissed him for a record 10th time in Test cricket.
Speaking about Nathan Lyon's bowling, Sivaramakrishnan called attention to the fact that the extra bounce is a by-product of a complete action and not caused by a conscious attempt to impart overspin. He even drew parallels to legendary Indian spinners S Venkataraghavan and E.A.S Prasanna.
"The bowler is trying to generate extra turn by imparting sidespin, and because the body action is there, there's bounce. People like Prasanna and Venkataraghavan would bowl overspin, they weren't dependent on the doosra, the teesra and the carrom ball. They would bowl undercutters and drifters."
R Ashwin and Nathan Lyon are centrepieces of their respective countries in the Test format.
Despite having a stellar record in India, Ashwin has found it tough to make an impact in overseas conditions. Only 6 of his 27 5-wicket hauls have come away from home, and his bowling average falls by almost 6 points.
The 34-year-old had taken only 27 wickets in 7 Tests in Australia at an average of 48.07 before the start of the ongoing pink-ball match. He took significant steps towards improving these numbers, sending back Steve Smith, Travis Head and Cameron Green to put the hosts on the backfoot.
Lyon, on the other hand, has excelled on a variety of wickets in Australia, England and South Africa. He has scalped 192 wickets in 49 home Tests at an average of 32.11, with 8 5-wicket hauls to his name.
It remains to be seen how the two off-spinners perform over the course of the 2020- Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Published 18 Dec 2020, 14:22 IST