Lyon's new weapon promises tasty PR spin

INSIDE the Australian camp they are calling it his 'doosra'. The back-spinning alternative delivery that Nathan Lyon unveiled with success in Brisbane nine days ago is yet to receive an official tag from the man himself or anyone else.

If he can repeat his flummoxing of Jacques Rudolph on his home track in Adelaide, though, it may just generate a name of its own.

''I sent a message to Steve Rixon about it because I heard all the commentators saying 'what are we going to call it?','' said Cricket Australia spin-bowling consultant John Davison. ''I said to Steve: 'Get Nath to name it; it would be good PR to have a name for it'.''

Rixon is the former Australian wicketkeeper who now doubles as the national team's fielding and spin coach and is working closely with the emerging off-spinner on a box of tricks which, on the evidence of his effort against Rudolph, is no longer one-dimensional.

The roots of Lyon's new ball, however, are coincidentally with a South African, whose assistance of the 25-year-old could come back to bite the Proteas if he can get it right consistently.

''I think Johan Botha has had a big part to play in helping him develop it,'' Davison said. ''When he was out here last year I think they started playing around with a few balls.

''He does it really well because he gets the ball spinning on the same axis as his stock delivery but it's actually spinning the other way. So the seam positioning is quite similar to his stock ball which is pretty cool.''

Botha, the South African off-spinning all-rounder who is now captain of South Australia, helped Lyon tinker with his repertoire while here last summer for a Twenty20 Big Bash League stint with Adelaide Strikers.

Lyon first experimented with the new delivery in a match during Australia's tour of the West Indies in April, but he was able to produce it with optimal effectiveness at the Gabba. Rudolph, the South African middle-order batsman, was the victim, undone by the unexpected and acute variation and caught leg-before on his back pad in the Proteas' second innings.

''It was good to see that he executed it perfectly,'' Davison said.

''It's good to sow that seed in the opposition that they've got to look for something else.''

The post-Shane Warne world has not been an easy one for an Australian spin bowler to exist in. Indeed, nearly a dozen before Lyon tried and failed for one reason or another to play at Test level with any semblance of longevity.

As a still developing orthodox right-armer, Lyon is light years from Warne's creative and destructive arsenal - the flipper, the top-spinner, the googly and the rest - but his workshopping and now taking of a Test wicket with a secondary ball does begin to counter the perception of him as a bowler of limited weaponry.

''We need the batsmen to say, 'Well he does have something else in the melting pot, we need to be able to keep an eye out for that','' Rixon said.

This story Lyon's new weapon promises tasty PR spin first appeared on WA Today.