February 3, 2003

Aussies to carry weak-armed Warney in field

POTCHEFSTROOM, South Africa, Feb 2 AAP - Can bowl, can't throw.

Shane Warne has made a remarkably rapid recovery from his dislocated shoulder but he remains unable to safely throw the ball overarm more than about 15 metres.

Australia's great leg spinner, embroiled in the "Can't Bowl, Can't Throw" controversy involving Scott Muller in 1999, will have to be carried in the field during the early stages of the World Cup, remaining inside the 30-metre circle when he's finished at first slip.

Warne under-armed and cautiously side-armed his throws during Australia's boisterous, enthusiastic fielding session today, occasionally lobbing Courtney Walsh-style returns into the gloves of wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.

The 33-year-old is able to bowl without discomfort from the shoulder he damaged on December 15 but attempting to launch powerful throws from the outfield is too risky. The shoulder might pop back out.

"I think it's just going to be sort of side-arm stuff from ten or 15 metres from Warney, that's about the maximum we're going to get out of him for a little while," said Australian captain Ricky Ponting.

"Hopefully he can get us a run out and a few catches in the circle."

When Australia's World Cup squad was announced on December 31, coach John Buchanan revealed a plan to save at least 15 runs per innings through razor-sharp fielding. Fringe players like Andrew Symonds were selected because they were better fielders than their rivals.

"If they're an outstanding batsman or outstanding bowler, in other words they've got big numbers, possibly you can give some leniency to that argument," Buchanan said at the time.

"Generally we look at players who have batting and bowling skills but they need to have something else, particularly fielding."

Warne's big numbers are of 291 wickets from 193 matches at an average of 25.82, strike rate of 36.4 and economy rate of 4.25.

He was accused of muttering "can't bowl, can't throw" during a Test between Australia and Pakistan in Hobart in '99 after a return from Muller sailed over Gilchrist's head.

Warne was at the bowler's end and it was thought stump microphones had picked up a comment from him. But Warne denied it, Joe The Cameraman confessed and Warne was off the hook.