XAVIER Doherty is a much better bowler today than the one who was monstered by England in 2010, says Tasmanian coach Tim Coyle.
As Australia toys with the idea of using Doherty's left-arm orthodox in partnership with Nathan Lyon's off-spin in today's second Test against India in Hyderabad, Coyle yesterday said picking the George Town spinner could be the selection move that gets Australia back into the series.
``I know he has more confidence bowling with the red ball now, and from what he's learnt from his first experience of Test cricket, we've got to back him,'' Coyle said.
``He's a smart cricketer and he's executed his plans more often that not.
``If Xavier plays, it would be a way to get back into the series.
``With Doherty spinning the ball the other way to Nathan Lyon, it would give the attack and edge it didn't have in the first Test.
``If the conditions are the same (as in Chennai), it will be all about just getting the ball into the right area and creating chances, and Xavier can do that.
``But whoever gets the job as the second spinner, if we play two, will have to bowl well to put pressure on their batting line-up.''
Coyle's comments came a day after former Test spinner Stuart MacGill said the Tasmanian was not up to Test standard.
Doherty's two appearances in the Baggy Green saw him collect just three scalps at an average of 102, and the 30-year-old has only managed two wickets in four Sheffield Shield outings at 80.
But his strong one-day form, and Indian spinners success in the first Test, which saw slow bowlers take all 20 Australian wickets, has put him in the frame.
But in a blow, Tigers teammate Jackson Bird be out of action for 10 to 12 weeks due to stress-related injury in his back, which forced him to return home from India early.
This set back has put the paceman's Ashes dream in doubt.
Australian captain Michael Clarke is yet to name a side for the second Test.
``We pick it today at training and I will probably tell the boys after training,'' Clarke said yesterday.
``There is a consideration of playing an extra spinner.''