Krejza's Lyon praise: 'He's getting unstoppable now'

Australia's Nathan Lyon acknowledges the crowed after taking six Bangladeshi wickets during the third day of the first Test in Dhaka.
Australia's Nathan Lyon acknowledges the crowed after taking six Bangladeshi wickets during the third day of the first Test in Dhaka. A.M. Ahad

SHANE Warne's shadow turned the lights out on 10 Australian spinners.

It was supposed to be 11, but Nathan Lyon refused to be silenced and now occupies his own throne beside the King.

To be crowned the best spinner since Warne is an achievement in itself given the unending list of casualties who failed to cope with the enormous expectations placed on them to live up to the greatest of all time.

But to have dealt with that same pressure only to eclipse cricket giants like Richie Benaud, Graeme Swann and Stuart MacGill on his way to becoming only the eighth Australian to take 250 Test wickets is a stunning record that will stand out proudly all on its own.

Lyon could on Monday lead a three-pronged spin attack in the second Test in Chittagong, a bold combination Australia hasn't dared try since Warne was in charge more than a decade ago.

Two-time Test spinner Jason Krejza was one of the first tasked with the responsibility of filling Warne's shoes.

The 34-year-old, who now runs a spin coaching clinic called Elite Cricket for up-and-comers in Sydney, says the Warne effect was profound, as he, Beau Casson, Bryce McGain, Xavier Doherty, Michael Beer and others were chewed up and spat out.

Krejza says Lyon's ability to have overcome a quiet and shy personality and fight even when selectors wanted his head should be regarded as one of Australian cricket's great success stories.

"I think his attitude is amazing. At the beginning when I first met him he was quite a quiet guy and I thought he's going to have to work on his attitude and see how he can be tougher," he said.

"But as soon as he started getting a bit of success he became this confident monster where he really trusted his skill.


Former Australian bowler Jason Krejza at the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
Former Australian bowler Jason Krejza at the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Eranga Jayawardena

"The whole comparison, the Shane Warne being the next in line, 100% that was unreasonable pressure.

"He was just obviously the best and if you're trying to come in as a young person ... we were just under scrutiny the whole time. I found it quite difficult personally to deal with some of the pressure for sure.

"I started to really self-doubt. I never really thought I should have been there. That's how I felt. It was difficult to stay ahead of the pressure."

Krejza now teaches young spinners around Sydney and on tours to world-class spin academies in India to trust in themselves - and Lyon is the poster boy for that.

"A lot of the time the media and the public were very harsh on him," Krejza said.

"He's an off-spinner bowling against many right-handers and if the ball isn't turning it's difficult to be able to contain let alone take wickets.

"The way he's stuck it out as been an amazing achievement.

"We're all mental cases spinners. I think we're all a little bit funny in the head. But he was able to keep a really low head about his cricket and be super confident about it.

"He's getting unstoppable now. You just know he (always) comes good."

Topics:  australian cricket team nathan lyon

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