What’s the story?
After India’s leading spinner R Ashwin is ruled out of the 2017 IPL, Rising Pune Supergiant is mulling a replacement and there are some reports that Australian spinner Nathan Lyon could be in line to replace his Indian counterpart.
According to sources close to the franchise, captain Steven Smith can take a call on whether he wants to replace Ashwin with Lyon but the question on everyone’s mind will be whether Lyon will be as effective as Ashwin in these conditions if he replaces the Tamil Nadu offie.
“It could well be skipper Steve Smith's call if he wants to replace the best Indian spinner with the best Australian spinner. If that happens, it will be interesting to see if Lyon has the same impact as Ashwin,” the source said.
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R Ashwin is one of the many players who were ruled out of the tenth edition of the edition due to an injury. Ashwin suffered a sports hernia injury right after the end of England series and it seems like the injury has reoccurred keeping the offie out of action for six to eight weeks.
It will be interesting to see whether Ashwin will be fit in time for the 2017 Champions trophy in June. A week ago, the RPS team management announced that South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir would replace Mitchell Marsh, who was ruled out of the IPL due to a shoulder injury.
Nathan Lyon has been in a very good form as he outbowled Ashwin in the recently concluded four-match Test series between both the teams in India. With this, he has proved that he can be quite handy on sub-continental wickets.
Though Lyon is not an integral part of the Aussies’ limited-overs team as he has played only one T20I till date, he is a regular in the Sydney Sixers’ squad in Big Bash League. He has picked up 32 wickets from 33 matches for the former champions at an economy rate of 7.28.
R Ashwin’s absence from the IPL is a big blow for Rising Pune Supergiant, but at the same time, replacing Ashwin with Nathan Lyon makes no sense as RPS already have two world-class spinners in Imran Tahir and Adam Zampa and they cannot play more than four overseas players in their playing XI.
Instead, the team management should look for an Indian spinner, who is capable of delivering for the team. Pragyan Ojha is one name that comes to our mind while taking about a good Indian spinner, who is not a part of the IPL. They can also pursue Tamil Nadu duo of Rahil Shah and R Sai Kishore, Karnataka’s Pavan Deshpande, or Rajasthan’s Mahipal Lomror, who all did well in the domestic circuit.