Saqlain Mushtaq, former Pakistan off-spinner, hailed Australian cricketer, Nathan Lyon, as the best spinner of the modern era as far as Test cricket is concerned.
Nathan Lyon, who made his debut back in 2011 is the most successful off-spinner in the history of Australian cricket. Lyon finished last decade as the highest wicket-taker among spinners, followed by Indian spin legend Ravichandran Ashwin.
While Lyon claimed 390 wickets in 96 Tests at an average of 31.80, Ashwin spun his way to 365 wickets in a mere 71 five-day games, equalling Muttiah Muralitharan’s record of being the fastest to 350 Test wickets.
However, it is Lyon’s ability to adapt and perform in different conditions that give him the edge ahead of Ashwin, in Saqlain Mushtaq’s eyes. Nathan Lyon has claimed 184 wickets in 44 away Tests at an average of 29.42 while Ashwin has managed 111 at an average of 31.44 in 28 matches away from home.
“In the longer version, I think Nathon Lyon is the best spinner in the world as he has performed against the majority of the top sides including India and Pakistan,” Saqlain Mushtaq told Cricket Pakistan.
“Ashwin is also a good bowler but in home conditions”- Saqlain Mushtaq
Mushtaq, however, hailed Ashwin for his exploits in home conditions while also adding Kuldeep Yadav in his list of modern-day elite spinners.
“Ashwin is also a good bowler but in home conditions. In limited-overs cricket, Kuldeep Yadav is a really good spinner and he is well educated in a cricketing sense,” Saqlain Mushtaq said.
Saqlain also picked Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan in his list, hailing him for his cleverness.
“Shakib Al Hasan is a very clever bowler as well because I have seen him closely while working with Bangladesh,” he added
As far as picking spinners from his own country is concerned, Saqlain singled out Yasir Shah and Shadab Khan.
“In Pakistan, Shadab has a lot of potential and I think he can also be effective in Test cricket as well. Yasir Shah is a world-class spinner as well which is evident from his track record.” the inventor of ‘Doosra’ added.