Crisis in English cricket January 9, 2009

Pietersen's coach offer was a joke - Warne

Cricinfo staff

Shane Warne: "Following a team around the world is what I have given up. If that is what I wanted, I would still be a player" © Getty Images

Shane Warne has described the reports of Kevin Pietersen approaching him with an offer to coach England as a joke and instead advanced his former team-mate Darren Lehmann as an ideal candidate. Warne also suggested England's stand-in captain Andrew Strauss was more suited to be the vice-captain.

The Australian media reported that Pietersen had approached Warne following the fall-out with Moores but Warne clarified that the text message he had received from Pietersen had been tongue-in-cheek. "Sources suggested Pietersen's plan was to have Warne as coach alongside former Victorian captain Darren Berry and former England allrounder Jeremy Snape as assistants, the same coaching trio who were at Rajasthan [Royals] last year when they won the inaugural IPL title," the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

But Warne, who coached and captained Rajasthan, said he couldn't give the time that is required for a full-time coaching position as of now. "At this stage, I have a full book," Warne wrote in his column for the Times. "I have enjoyed coaching and managing the Rajasthan Royals, but that is for a couple of months a year.

"In any case, following a team around the world is what I have given up. If that is what I wanted, I would still be a player. But - and we all have this "but" in life - if an offer comes that sounds too good to be true, I would have to stop and think."

Warne went on to suggest that Darren Lehmann, his former Australian team-mate, would do a good job for England who, according to Warne, needed a coach from outside their set-up to take an objective view and bring in a few ideas, while still understanding the English system. "As a player he [Lehmann] did wonders for Yorkshire and had the respect of everyone," Warne said. "Now he has moved into coaching. He would be great at installing confidence right across the board, through the players, the ECB, sponsors, supporters ... everybody."

Warne criticised the way the Pietersen-Moores issue was handled and felt the differences should have been sorted behind closed doors. "The balance between captain and coach should be simple: the captain runs the show and the coach is there in the background." He said the stand-in captain Andrew Strauss was better suited for the vice-captain's role and Rob Key, the Kent captain, was Warne's choice for leading England in all three formats of the game.

"I think Key is unlucky not to have played more for England and I would have put him in charge for all three formats. He has flair and imagination, a good temperament and is well liked within the game. Ideally, you should look to appoint one captain for all forms and I don't think that Strauss deserves a place in the one-day side on merit."