5 June 1997

Sleep is key for England batsmen

Lancashire Evening Telegraph

FORMER Australian Test star Peter Sleep has turned 'traitor' to help the England Ashes cause.

The Lancashire second XI coach and experienced local league professional has been drafted in by England coach David Lloyd to help combat the leg-spin threat of Shane Warne.

Sleep - who played 14 Tests for Australia between 1979 and 1989 - has spent two days at Edgbaston bowling his own brand of leg-spin to the England batsmen.

And while he believes the England batsmen have improved their technique, Sleep is still backing Mark Taylor's men to take the series.

He said: "English batsmen do not see leg spin very often at all and they have obviously got better with practise.

"But Shane Warne is one of the best bowlers in the world and not to be taken lightly.

"John Crawley is probably the best player of leg-spin and Alec Stewart plays it reasonably well.

"The rest have a few minor technical problems."

However, despite the meticulous preparation of the England camp, Warne may be cast in a supporting role until the later stages of the game on a seamer's wicket.

Sleep was joined at Edgbaston by promising 18-year-old Lancashire leg-spinner, Chris Schofield, and former Pakistan bowler Iqbal Sikander.

But he has no doubts where his new loyalties lie.

"I will probably get a lot of stick from the Aussies but I live here and work here now and this is my adopted country.

"David Lloyd gave me the opportunity to work at Lancashire and I would love to see England knock the Aussies over for his and Mike Atherton's sake.

"But I do not think they will!"

Source :: Lancashire Evening Telegraph (http://www.reednews.co.uk/let/)