Australia’s new spin talent Nathan Lyon could develop into a good bowler but the off-spinner will face a tough challenge during the four-Test series against India beginning on Boxing Day, feels out-of-favour Indian tweaker Harbhajan Singh.
“I’ve watched a bit of Lyon on television and I think he has got a bit about him, he looks like he could develop into a good spinner for Australia,” Harbhajan, who has been left out of India’s touring Test squad, said.
“But I’m not sure he knows what a big challenge is around the corner for him. There are few better players of spin than batsmen like Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag. Lyon will have his hands full bowling to those guys.
“Sehwag is a guy who likes to play his shots and it will be a big learning series for the new Australian spinner. It will be quite an experience for him,” the off-spinner added.
Lyon is the 12th Australian Test spinner since Shane Warne retired but the former Adelaide Oval groundsman has taken just seven Tests to show that he may be the answer to Australia’s spin woes.
The unassuming 24-year-old has already taken 22 Test wickets at an impressive average of 24.59 and has showed he is not afraid of flighting the ball and using loop and drift to deceive batsmen.
However, Harbhajan says India’s batsmen are a totally different kettle of fish to the New Zealand batsmen who have lost their way against Lyon in the two Tests this summer.
“I think India have got a very strong batting side and it will be a big battle for the spinner (Lyon) and all the rest of the Australian bowlers,” Harbhajan said.
While Lyon appears to be blossoming, Harbhajan’s 406-wicket Test career has been struck by a combination of poor form and a mysterious shin injury.
The 31-year-old ‘Turbanator’ was left out of the squad and is not likely to appear in the following one-day series as he will not be able to bowl until mid January at the earliest.
It is possible that the controversial spinner – at the centre of the infamous ‘Monkeygate’ controversy in 2008 – may never play in Australia again.
“My shin bone is extremely sore and it is very sensitive even just to touch it. The medical people have told me that if I do any more bowling at the moment, I will do more damage and I may end up fracturing the bone,” Harbhajan said.
“I have to have rest and there is a match I will try to play on January 25 (in Indian domestic cricket). The main thing is that I try to get strong again before I start bowling.
“It is an injury that has been bothering me for quite a while and has been affecting my bowling in matches,” he added.
Harbhajan says that nthan lyon could be a new spin talent for Australia but he is going to have a tough time with Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag.