Two days ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, Nathan Lyon has gone on record with the claim that Josh Hazlewood is by far the best quick bowler in the world.
He made his case in a media session ahead of Thursday’s match, giving a shout out to Hazlewood, despite the majority of the attention being devoted to Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.
“He can do anything,’’ Lyon said of Hazlewood.“He’s quick, he can bowl bumpers, he can control the new ball, he can swing it in and out, he can reverse it. I haven’t seen a bowler who’s got that control in a long time.I’m happy for you to put it in the headline. He’s the best fast bowler in the world.’’
While Lyon may be accurate, it will not matter if Hazlewood cannot take wickets. Observers feel that Hazlewood is not as showy as Cummins and Starc, but he does go about his business with an approach that features a focus on efficiency, which takes some of the pressure off the other two.
Lyon is happy to be on the squad for this year’s Ashes. Last year, his participation was in doubt until the last possible moment. Lyon is a finger spinner who has managed to do what few before him have done, which is to have success in Australia, where pace is the order of the day.
Lyon, unlike some spinners, comes over the top, as opposed to around the side of the ball; something that gives him spring and bounce that is effective against solid wickets.
That technique hurts him when he play in India, where dusty pitches prevent Lyon’s turn from being as effective as it is when there is some lush turf.
In accordance with the idea that the best place to learn to bowl spin is on wickets that resist turn, Lyon said, “(Growing up on wickets that barely turned) I had to find a way to get other guys out if I wanted to further my career.’’