What makes Nathan Lyon great? – An InFocus

Effective spin bowling was always a moon-landing job in SENA pitches until Shane Warne showed his world-class skills. With his wrist spin technique, he could shatter the defence of all the legendary batters of his time. Moreover, It is suffice to say that the Australian team constructed a lavish castle by having the spin wizard. After Warne’s retirement, the spin department felt a huge vacuum. At a point, It almost felt like it was impossible even to come closer to fit in the Shane Warne sized hole. The Australian contingent searched for a steady grip in bowling with a regular spinner.

That is when Nathan Lyon came in with his traditional off-spin bowling. As it had always been turning away from a right-hander (by Warne) for the Aussies, it took time for them to get used to the ball coming into the right-hander (by Lyon).

Nathan Lyon is one genuine off-spinner in the game of cricket. His bowling action, attitude and his deliveries justify it with fairness. He wasn’t a different bowler then, even now. But he is more consistent than any other of his business. Moreover, his stuff of legend has awed cricketing folklore many times, and it has also been a factor that kept the Australian team regaining the urn.

Read about Australian and England bowling conditions here to understand how supportive they were for spinners.

Here are things you will get to know by reading further.

  • What’s special about Nathan Lyon?
  • How do his bowling action, grip, and variations make him a consistent spin contingent in the Australian Test team?
  • The factors that make him successful.

Height factor

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Being a tall bowler, Nathan Lyon has the advantage of extracting extra bounce from the pitch by his type of release. Even though Lyon has to bend a lot while releasing, the release point is higher and frontier when compared to any other offies. He angles his shoulders towards the target where he wants to bowl, and in that process, he tries to bring his shoulder up above the ball while releasing.

Also, this has been why he fetches excellent revolution of the ball, which produces overturn and bounce.

Hip drive

The hip drive is the most effective factor any spinner should possess to bowl wildly excessive turning deliveries. It adds more to the revolution of the ball, and the Aussie offie is an expert in this process.

Nathan Lyon naturally can drive his upper body to his left with his hip drive. When it is accompanied by his jump, back foot push and steady front foot, the process of an off-spin ball gets complete.


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Lyon consistently bowls in the good length area with or without spin. This has been his biggest strength. The exceptional consistency from Lyon tests the temperament of the batters so hard.

Furthermore, his bowling becomes treacherous for a batter when the bat-pads or silly points are placed in to catch the airborne ball. Eventually, this pushes the batters to a point where they have to be technically strong with their defence, wait for a loose ball, or take the risk to score against him.

The spinster well uses the wear and tear of the pitch.


The spin spearhead of Australia relies on his overturning deliveries, which comes into a right-handed batter very sharp.

Apart from that, he has got the arm ball that skids better than any of his other deliveries.

There is a natural variation in his kit in which the ball doesn’t turn but comes off from his hand in the same way as his off-spin but moves with the angle and bounces well.

Along with these, Nathan Lyon runs in with specific angles to change the behaviour of his deliveries.

Read Now: 7 Variations of Rashid Khan in Cricket

To Wrap up 

Nathan Lyon has performed equally well in both home and away. As he had been a pitch curator, he is a good pitch reader. Maybe this ability has a lot to do with his wicket-taking ability. Finds the behaviour of the pitch earlier and uses the wear and tear of the pitch with accuracy.

Only legends have gone past the 400 Test wickets mark, and Lyon had been the 7th spin bowler to do it In Tests. And also, he is the highest wicket taken off-spinner among the current crop. Addedly, the first non-Asian off-spinner to take 400 Test wickets.

What’s more fascinating is he always gets compared with the Indian off-spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin, who had mostly played in Indian tracks, which is spin paradise. Whilst, Nathan Lyon has good numbers in both SENA and subcontinent pitches. Check here Ashwin’s wicket distributions in both home and away conditions.

He was able to go past 200 wickets in just 53 games in Australia, where the conditions get better for spinners only on the 4th and 5th days of a Test match in Australia.

With so many records in his name, Nathan Lyon is not easy for Australia to go past after his retirement. He is among a few guys who have staked strong claims in red-ball cricket.

Find here: Nathan Lyon’s New Achievement in Test Cricket

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