NEW DELHI: Welcome to Nathan Lyonsof longevity in international cricket, former Australia drummer Michael Hussey believes the off-spinner should continue as long as he remains fit to compete at the elite level.
After taking just one wicket in the first Test against India in ongoing Nagpur Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, Lyon picked up 18 scalps in the next two Tests, including a 10 for Australia’s win in Indore.
Will Australia place the Indian series in Ahmedabad?
Australia will be aiming to field the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series on another minefield when the final test begins in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
India were punished with a rare home defeat in the Third Test last week and are looking to bounce back to win the series 3-1.
With victory in Ahmedabad, India will secure a place in the ICC World Test Championship final at the Oval in June.
Australia clinched their place in the showpiece with their third victory in the nine-wicket Test, completed before lunch on day three at a treacherous Indore track.
Pat Cummins stayed home due to a family illness, giving Smith another chance to take on India in the subcontinent.
The prime ministers of India and Australia are due to witness another sharply spinning wicket on Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Despite assurances from the local Gujarat Cricket Association of “normal ground”, the two teams are again expected to choose three players.
India can go for the wrist trick of Kuldeep Yadav instead of Axar Patel, who took just one wicket in the series.
India can also bolster their staff by dropping a Seam Launcher and bringing in the explosive Suryakumar Yadav.
In Indore, Nathan Lyon and Matthew Kuhnemann starred in Australia’s second Test victory on Indian soil since 2004.
Asked how long can Lyon continue, Hussey said: “As long as he really wants to. He’s been amazing with his longevity and he’s still quite young really. He’s got years and years ahead of him, as long as his body holds up.”
There is a saying that spinners mature after 30 years and Lyon with 479 wickets from 118 Tests is a shining example of this adage.
“They always say spinners peak in their 30s and maybe late 30s, it’s a tough art and I don’t see why it can’t go on for a long time,” Hussey told the Australian radio SEN.
Australia will face India in the fourth and final Test in Ahmedabad from March 9.
Hussey said he would like a slow orthodox left arm Matt Kuhnemann to partner with Lyon in case Australia decides to play with two specialist spinners instead of three. The third spinner is Offie Todd Murphy, who was equally impressive.
“I was really impressed with (Todd) Murphy, he looks really good. That said, I like having the balance in attack where you have a guy spinning right-handed and a guy spinning in the distance…
“I would probably lean towards Kuhnemann, but only for this reason that he turns the ball in the opposite direction (toward the right-hander).”
(With PTI inputs)