Nathan Lyon will pick 700 Test wickets, predicts Darren Lehmann
What's the story?
Australian coach Darren Lehmann has predicted that off-spinner Nathan Lyon can go on to pick 700 Test wickets. Drawing parallels with the iconic Shane Warne's career, the former batsman backed the 30-year old to challenge the legendary leg-spinner's national record tally of wickets.
"It’s been fantastic for him. Warne was a different level again. Warnie was a freak of nature and one of a kind. Nathan (Lyon) has just developed a really good self-belief with his bowling and what he wants to achieve. If he has that self-belief, he will get 700 Test wickets", Lehmann told the SEN breakfast radio show.
He elaborated, "You wind the clock back 12 months ago and he was a little down. Through some good performances, especially away from home, he has just gone to another level which is great. He has always put the hours in and he has done all the work himself. The belief comes with success. He really believes he will get a wicket every ball which is a great weapon for us."
With a whopping 708 wickets from 145 matches, Warne is comfortably perched on top of the list of Australia's all-time leading wicket-takers in Test cricket. As evidenced by 563 wickets from 124 matches, his illustrious erstwhile teammate Glenn McGrath comes a distant second.
The heart of the matter
Possessing a legacy much more than just numbers, Warne's remarkable imprint on the game often leads him to be widely considered as the gold standard among spinners. Lyon's sizzling recent form is turning heads in Australian cricket circles. His newfound self-belief as well as remarkable control were on display during the recently completed Gabba Test in the 2017/18 Ashes series.
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From 70 Tests thus far, Lyon has picked 274 wickets at an average of 31.78 and strike-rate of 61 with 12 five-wicket hauls and two ten-wicket match hauls. As things stand at the moment, his tally of wickets places him on the seventh position among Australia's most prolific wicket-takers in the premier format. When the focus is narrowed down to just spinners, only Warne has taken more scalps than the in-form off-spinner.
Ahead of the second Test in Adelaide, Lyon has issued an open challenge to the England batsmen. The pink-ball day-night match at the Adelaide Oval is scheduled to begin on December 2.
Considering the fact that he is already 30, Lyon may not have enough left in his tank to live up to Lehmann's bold prediction of 700 Test wickets. The man himself will be sharpening his gaze only towards spinning Australia to memorable victories in the coming years.
As for those parallels with Warne, the off-spinner will have to go on a record-breaking spree in the near future to even warrant such lofty comparisons.