India’s R Ashwin is a better off-spinner than Nathan Lyon because the Australian’s strike rate since the start of 2018 is below par and he gets hit through on-side by right-handers which shouldn’t happen, said former Australia captain Ian Chappell.
“I think Ashwin is a better bowler than Nathan Lyon. Have a look at Nathan Lyon’s strike rate, you are talking in the 70s and I am going back to 2018,” said Chappell.
Since 2018, Lyon has taken 113 wickets in 27 Test matches with a strike rate of 72.5 and an average of 33.43. Although he has six five-wicket hauls, as many as four of them have come against two teams — India and New Zealand. His only 10-wicket haul has come against the Kiwis.
Lyon’s strike rate (85.8) against India has been worse than his rate against others in this phase.
“I think runs get scored through the onside when he (Nathan Lyon) is bowling to the right-handers and that really just shouldn’t happen. Yes, he is a fine bowler but I think Ashwin is a better bowler,” Chappell said on espncricinfo.com.
Lyon, who has played 100 Test matches, is just one short of 400 wickets while Ashwin has taken 409 wickets in 78 Test matches.
The Aussie off-spinner could pick only nine wickets in four Tests in the recent home series against India.
Ashwin hasn’t picked too many wickets overseas. The bulk of his wickets have come in India. As many as 70 per cent of his wickets are on Indian soil — 286 wickets of his 409 scalps are in India. Often, he has had to miss overseas Tests due to injuries.
But Chappell said that the Indian bowling attack as a whole has been doing so well of late that wickets have been shared and it hasn’t allowed Ashwin to take too many wickets overseas.
“I think, particularly of late, I find that the Indian attack has been so strong that the wickets are being shared around more. And the other point I would make is because of Ashwin’s reputation I think the England players probably concentrated more on keeping Ashwin out and with Axar Patel, well, let’s be blunt about it, they didn’t have a bloody clue,” Ian Chappell added.
Ashwin though ended as the top wicket-taker in the recent home series against England, picking 33 wickets and earning the player-of-the-series award.