PUNE: Australia's Nathan Lyon today revealed that he has been analysing ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to improve his own bowling as there is a lot to learn from the in-form Indian. "I have watched a lot of Ashwin. He is a world class bowler and I can learn a lot from him," said Lyon at an open media session ahead of Australia's four-Test series against India, commencing here on Thursday.
"I'm not going to tell you what I have been working on. I definitely changed my approach to the subcontinent conditions as compared to four years ago. We have to wait and see how it comes out, I guess.
"I have been watching a lot of footage of Ashwin, the way he goes about it, his different release points. He is a world-class spinner, the best at the moment in the world, there is a reason for it. Been studying him a lot, hopefully I can put that in play," he added.
Lyon admitted that playing in India would be a "good challenge" for his entire team. "I am aware you need to change a few things here and there. But it's a game of cricket. We are playing on the same wickets as they are. So there are no excuses. There is going to be different challenge lying ahead for us on this tour. We have a really good squad together. Wickets are going to turn, going to reverse, the big quicks are going to play a role. It's a good challenge for the whole team," he said.
The 29-year-old offie from New South Wales, with 228 wickets under his belt from 63 Tests, said he was enjoying the additional responsibility of being the lead spinner.
"I'm enjoying the responsibility, doesn't add any more pressure. Our job is to bowl well together and in partnership and put pressure. I am looking at this as a chance to pass knowledge to some, especially the younger spinners who have not toured here before," said Lyon.
"Am good mates with (left-arm slow) Steve O'Keefe. We play for the same side Sydney Sixers and New South Wales as well. We played the last Test in Sydney against Pakistan. We bowled well together. He's totally different to what I am, we complement each other well. Looking to bowling with him.
"If you are going to come out and try to take wicket off every ball, you are going to get hit for boundaries. For us, coming over and competing here is about building pressure, either with quickies or spinners at the other end. Try to give minimum runs and make the Indians play the big shots. That's where we are going to build pressure," he explained.
Lyon brushed aside former off-spinner Harbhajan Singh's prediction of a 4-0 sweep for India against what he termed "as the weakest Australian team" to visit the country. "Good luck to him. Everyone has his opinion. As an Australian team, we are worried about our processes. We are not worried about what everyone believes and thinks about this team. We think we have got really strong squad here. We have got unbelievable talent in the room out there. We have got good leaders with David Warner as vice-captain and Steve Smith as captain. There are some very young talents.
"We are confident in our change room. We'll come out and compete hard with India. We know it's going to be hard work, we know it's going to be a challenge. India are the No. 1 side for a reason. We're playing in their backyard. We don't expect our big fast bowlers to come out and get them five down (on the first day). It's a big challenge for us. We are looking forward to it," he concluded.