The story behind Nathan Lyon's nicknames - "Garry" and "Gazza"

Momin Mehmood Butt

Nathan Lyon

Nathan Lyon played a pivotal role in breaching the Edgbaston fortress on Day Five of the first match of the 2019 Ashes. On a tricky pitch with countless dry patches, Lyon wreaked havoc on the English batting line-up with his classical off-spin.

He ensnared the Englishmen into his trap, picking up a staggering nine scalps in the see-saw contest that saw momentum shifting sides several times throughout the five days. It was a lion-like performance on a pitch that was said to take lots of grip and turn as the game progressed.

Over the years, we have become accustomed to hearing the Aussie wicket-keepers trying to fire Lyon up through some weird nicknames. "Garry" from Matthew Wade and "Gazza" from Tim Paine have been the most prominent in recent times, and that hasn't gone unnoticed by the fans at all. 

Digging deeper into this mystery of nicknames which do not seem to be in sync with the 31-year old offie's original name, we discover that Lyon, in fact, fancies the nickname "Garry" which stems from Garry Lyon. His namesake is a former Australian Football League legend and an ex-captain of Melbourne Football Club, who now works as a TV broadcaster. 

England v Australia - 1st Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Five

Wade was heard on the stump mic constantly saying "Nice Garry!" during Australia's Test series against the Proteas back in 2016-17. The phrase even began trending on Twitter after that, and there are a plethora of memes that have been made on the phrase ever since.

To add to that, there is a one-hour YouTube video of the boisterous "Nice Garry!" chant from the ever-pumped up Wade, which is rollicking along at nearly 80,000 views.

The star Aussie off-spinner seems to love his new identification, something he feels gets the fans going as well. During the Big Bash season of 2017, Lyon wore shoes with "Nice Garry!" emblazoned on them. 

“It’s brilliant. I’ve now got little kids and guys older than my dad walking around the streets calling (out) ‘Nice Garry’,” said Lyon in an interview. "It’s a little bit different. I’m enjoying it.”

Australia's current wicket-keeper and skipper Tim Paine admitted that the phrase didn't come naturally to him but that Lyon was adamant that he stick with it while standing behind the stumps. “I sat him down. He’s working on it. I know he’s been in his room working on it," Lyon said.

It feels like Lyon has been granted his wish; throughout the first Ashes Test this year, we could hear Paine exhorting the bowler with his "Nice Gazza!" and "Bowled Gazza" shouts. In typical Aussie fashion, Paine modified 'Garry' into 'Gazza'.

The shouts seemed to spur the off-spinner on and also radiate positive energy around the team as a whole. For Lyon to excel throughout the series as he did at Edgbaston, he would need loads of support from behind the stumps and any sort of encouragement that he can gain from his teammates - and especially his skipper.

"Nice Gazza!" might be as good a way to encourage him as any.

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