India vs Australia: Ashwin better than Lyon in sub-continent conditions, says Emburey

Former England off-spinner John Emburey feels R Ashwin has the upper hand over Nathan Lyon in the sub-continent but the latter 'scores over Ashwin' in all other countries.

"Ashwin tends to push the ball through and on the Indian pitches the tactic is very effective," Emburey said.   -  afp

We are living in times when two exceptional off-spinners, Nathan Lyon and R. Ashwin, are parading their skills on the international stage.

Former England off-spinner John Emburey was a fine exponent of his craft in the 80s and 90s, with 147 scalps in 64 Tests.  He had a lovely, easy side-on action, and bowled with control.

He is also insightful, does not hold back his views. Comparing the two off-spinners, Emburey told Sportstar on Wednesday, “Ashwin is a better bowler than Lyon in the sub-continent but in all other countries, Lyon scores over Ashwin.”

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He elaborated, “Lyon has grown as an off-spinner, he flights the ball, there is loop, bounce and turn. He uses his body and fingers, is a big spinner of the ball. And he is so accurate, his bowling is in complete harmony with his field placements.”

Emburey said, “Lyon imparts over-spin and gives the ball air so there is bounce for him in Australia, South Africa and England. He bowls an attacking line outside the off-stump and turns the ball.”

The Englishman, here as a commentator, said, “Ashwin tends to push the ball through and on the Indian pitches the tactic is very effective. When he does the same thing in Australia or South Africa, he doesn’t get the same purchase. There you need to flight the ball to get bounce.”

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A quick learner

Emburey, however, added, “In the first innings of the Adelaide Test of this series, Ashwin did flight the ball and achieved bounce but in the second innings, he was back to pushing the ball through.”

Emburey observed, “Lyon principally relies on his sharp off-spin while Ashwin does not depend as much on his stock ball. He is more reliant on his variations. To Ashwin’s credit, he does get the ball to drift.”

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The former England captain said, “Lyon is a quick learner. Earlier, he was struggling to bowl in India. But on the last tour he found the right pace to bowl in India, was quicker through the air, and there was reward for him.”

Wonderful temperament

The batting of Virat Kohli has also caught Emburey’s imagination. “In my time, we had Barry Richards, Javed Miandad, Greg Chappell, Sunil Gavaskar and Viv Richards. Then came Lara, Tendulkar and Ponting.”

Emburey said, “Now, Kohli is the best and the most complete batsman in the world, followed by Steve Smith, Kane Willamson and Joe Root.”

The Englishman noted, “Kohli has great attitude and ability, wonderful temperament and a bit of arrogance.”