The Lyon King has joined the ranks of the all-time greats of the game — and he can thank a Canadian for getting him there.
Nathan Lyon, the Australian off-spinner, collected his 500th Test wicket in the first Test versus Pakistan in Perth to become the third Aussie behind the late Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) to join this elite group.
The list is headed by the greatest spinner of all time, Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka, who retired after bamboozling the world’s best batsmen with a haul of 800. The others in this group include England’s James Anderson (690), Anil Kumble of India (619), England’s Stuart Broad (604) and West Indian speed merchant Courtney Walsh (519), who was the first to hit this elusive 500 mark.
Lyon celebrated his elevation to be in the select group by “partying like Warney,” with his teammates and coach John Davison.
Davison, of course, is one of the best all-rounders to represent Canada. The 53-year-old Davison was born in Campbell River, B.C., and moved to Melbourne as a child, but returned to Canada in 1999 and was immediately signed to play for his country of birth.
He hit the headlines in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa when he bludgeoned the fastest century in the tournament’s history by clubbing a dozen sixes in a brilliant 111 against the West Indies. He followed that up with the third fastest World Cup 50 versus New Zealand.
Davison was appointed Canada’s captain in 2004 and created even more history by taking 17 wickets for 137 against the United States and making 84 in an Intercontinental Cup match that Canada won by 104 runs.
His haul of 17 wickets was the best Test analysis since England’s Jim Laker’s 19 wickets against Australia in 1956 at Old Trafford.
Davison then returned Down Under and was signed up as a coach at Australia’s Centre of Excellence.
Davison considers Lyon as the greatest spinner in the world today and few could argue with that assessment. Lyon may have reached the target much earlier during the Ashes series in England, but he was sidelined by a serious calf injury until now.
Lyon is instantly recognizable as he always wears his trademark sunglasses, his bald head and a towel that’s tucked in the back of his trousers. He takes just a few steps before his deliveries and he manages to get a big bounce from his tosses.
Lyon’s magic moment came with the wicket of Faheem Ashraf on a LBW. Surprisingly, Lyon did not appeal the not out verdict by umpire Richard Illingworth, but was urged to by his skipper Pat Cummins and the electronic ball-tracking technology showed that the ball would have taken the leg stump.
It was a special day for Lyon and for Australia as well, as the home team recorded a massive 360-run bashing of Pakistan to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.
Unfortunately, Lyon’s amazing feat was witnessed by a small crowd of 9,244 in the 60,000-seat Opus Stadium, where the visitors were shot out for 89 runs on a wicket that was close to being unplayable.
Other highlights in this Test included under-fire David Warner hammering 164 in the first innings in his farewell series and Usman Khawaja making 41 and 90 with Mitch Marsh weighing in with 90 and 63 not out. Pakistan pace bowler Aamer Jamal starred with six wickets in his debut.
Now it’s on to Melbourne on Boxing Day with a confident Australia looking to make it 2-0.
STARC HITS JACKPOT
Mitchell Starc laughed all the way to the bank in one of the most affluent cities in the world on Tuesday.
The Australian became the most expensive player in the history of the Indian Premier League when Kolkata Knight Riders splurged an exorbitant $2.98 million US for his services for next season.
An hour earlier in the auction held in Dubai, Starc’s teammate Cummins was at the top of the ladder after Sunrisers Hyderabad paid $2.47 million for the World Cup-winning skipper.
The previous highest mark was held by England all-rounder Sam Curran, who was purchased by Punjab Kings for $2.3 million last year.
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Each player gets the original amount bid to play in the 10-team tournament that lasts seven weeks. If Starc plays in all of his 14 matches, each of his four-over deliveries in each match will earn him roughly a ludicrous $10,000.
The third-highest paid player in the auction was New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell, who was grabbed by Chennai Super Kings for $1.6 million. Mitchell was one of the stars of the World Cup by scoring a couple of centuries in a losing cause against India.
West Indies star Rovman Powell went to Rajasthan Royals for $890,000 and Australia’s Travis Head was signed by Hyderabad for $818,000. One of the big surprises of the auction was that Kiwi all-rounder Rachin Ravindra could only attract $216,000 from Chennai.
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