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'The Lowest I've felt in my life after 2018': India's R Ashwin on 'insensitive' comparison with Australia's Nathan Lyon

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin off-spinner opened up on comparisons with Australian counterpart Nathan Lyon, calling the parallels drawn after the 2018-19 series an 'insensitive one'.
India's Ravichandran Ashwin stretches during play on day four of the third cricket test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)(AP)
Updated on Jan 26, 2021 09:47 AM IST

Who's the better spinner between India's Ravichandran Ashwin and Australia's Nathan Lyon? The debate has been going on for long in cricket. Both the off-spinners have already stacked up numerous plaudits in their esteemed careers so far, but the comparisons between the two continue after every series, especially if it's an India-Australia one.

While Ashwin had a memorable tour to Australia in December/January, Lyon had a forgettable one. The Indian off-spinner picked 12 wickets in 3 Tests, becoming the 4th-highest wicket-taker in the series.

He also troubled Steve Smith throughout the series and got him out thrice. Ashwin also had a key role to play with the bat, as his partnership with Hanuma Vihari saved the 3rd Test for India at SCG.

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Lyon, on the other hand, could only muster 9 wickets in 4 Tests, and could not reach the 400-wickets landmark in the series, which many expected him to reach.

Speaking in an interview with The New Indian Express, Ashwin recalled the 2019 Adelaide Test and said that he felt it was "insensitive" that he was compared with Lyon despite India's win.


"There has been a lot of noise about how I am bowling and pitting me against someone like Nathan Lyon. During the previous tour in Adelaide, I picked up six wickets and kept on bowling despite a tear in the abdomen," Ashwin recalled.

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"After the match, there was a comparison between us with suggestions of how well Lyon bowled. I felt it was extremely insensitive towards a good performance. That was the lowest I ever felt in my life after Southampton (2018)," he added.

"I feel I have been constantly put under the microscope. I did take it upon myself personally. So rather than me competing against Lyon, I thought I must be competing against Smith. Lyon is a lovely bowler and I have respect for him. But my focus was on something else," Ashwin further said.

In response to another question, Ashwin said that he does not need to do exactly what Lyon and/or England's Moeen Ali are doing. "If Moeen Ali or Nathan Lyon is bowling outside off-stump to a glorious plan and Shane Warne is talking beautifully about it in the commentary box, it doesn't mean I have to do the same thing and wickets will fall. Because he is bowling to Indian batsmen and I'm bowling against English and Aussie batters," he said.

"As far as I'm concerned, I bowl at other team batsmen not at Indian batters. If I have to bowl at Indian batsman then I may try what Ali or Lyon does. And sometimes the comparison between Ali and Lyon and myself, I have taken way too personally and it has hurt me and it will remain a hurt as long as I live," he added.

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