Nathan Lyon praises England’s young spinners after ‘hell of a start’ in India

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Nathan Lyon was impressed with how England’s inexperienced spinners acquitted themselves in India, even though the visitors lost 4-1 having won the opening Test, as he prepares to join forces with one of them, Tom Hartley, for a county season with Lancashire.

In two of the five Tests England fielded Hartley, Shoaib Bashir and Rehan Ahmed as a spin trio. Hartley played the whole series and finished with 22 wickets at 36.13 after stunning with 7 for 62 on debut in Hyderabad. Bashir appeared four times after a delayed arrival due to visa issues and claimed 17 wickets at 33.35 including a maiden five-wicket haul in Dharamsala.

Lyon, who said he was “absolutely glued” to the India-England series, also believes Bashir could have “something special” and has the potential to be successful in Australia.

“All three of them to be honest with you,” Lyon said on the Willow Talk podcast when asked who stood out for him. “And I’m not just saying that to be kind. They had a pretty hard introduction into Test cricket. That’s one hell of a way to start your Test career, come over and bowl to Rohit [Sharma] and [Shubman] Gill and everyone else.

“But I’m looking forward to getting over to Lancashire and meeting Tom [Hartley] and bowling with him and just having discussions about left-arm [orthodox], right-arm offies is a pretty similar craft. It’s going to be interesting to see the mindset, his reflections. I’m looking forward to hopefully playing a bit with him over there as well which will be good.

“Bashir looked like he had something special as well. I like that he went over the back of it [the ball], so he could be he could be a threat down here for sure.”

The next Ashes series will take place in the 2025-26 season in Australia with England trying to build a side that can win down under for the first time since 2010-11 and only the second since 1986-87.

From Australia’s point of view there is debate starting about how much turnover there will be in the Test side following David Warner’s retirement earlier this year and the fact Cameron Green and Marnus Labuschagne were the only players under 30 during the recent series in New Zealand.

Most conjecture tends to surround Steven Smith who is non-committal on his future whenever asked, but Lyon does not foresee any further departures from the Test group in the next 12 months and is confident everyone can reach the Ashes.

“We’re definitely getting closer to the end than the start,” Lyon said. “But I think also where we are in our careers is that we’ve done the hard work when we’re continuing to do the hard work in our preparation, our recovery, our rehab. There’s no reason why we can’t keep playing on for three to four or five years.

“The only thing going to stop blokes is potential injuries and how the body holds up. The skill is always going to be there. The guys have played long enough now and they know what to do and how they go about it. And another thing is that, especially within the bowlers, under Pat [Cummins], Pat gets it as well. He understands when the bowlers are cooked…he understands the importance of managing [our] bowlers pretty well.”

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