Warne signs on for T20 coaching role
Shane Warne has signed on as a specialist spin coach to help Australia's slow bowlers in the lead-up to this year's World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. Cricket Australia has confirmed that Warne will join the T20 squad in South Africa in early March and he will support coach Darren Lehmann as what CA described as a "consultant providing specialist coaching to the spin bowlers".
Spin is expected to play a key role in the World T20 given the conditions in Bangladesh and Australia's selection of young legspinner James Muirhead for their T20s against England is an indication that they may be prepared to gamble on raw talent for the tournament. Muirhead has played only three T20 games for the Melbourne Stars this year and a total of five BBL games in his career.
"We believe our national teams can really benefit from more specific skill-based coaching as and when it is needed," Lehmann said. "This will mean that from time to time we will enlist the support of experts in their craft to work with our players and share their experiences.
"In the case of the ICC World Twenty 20, we believe spin bowling will be critical to success. There's no better person than Shane to help guide the spinners we select in that squad. He was a gifted cricketer and remains passionate about spin bowling and seeing our players be the best that they can be. We're thrilled to have him on board."
Warne said: "I'm excited to be working with Australia's spinners in South Africa. I'm looking forward to helping them with some intense bowling preparation ahead of the World Twenty 20, where we'll specifically work on tactics and mindset."
In announcing the T20 squad to play England earlier this week, national selector John Inverarity said as well as Muirhead and Glenn Maxwell, who were both in the group, Xavier Doherty had strong claims on a position for the World T20. He even indicated the veteran Brad Hogg, who turns 43 next month and is a contemporary of Warne's, could receive another recall after playing in the 2012 World T20.
Australia will name their squad for the World T20 in mid-February, and that group will then convene in South Africa after the Test series for three matches in the first two weeks of March. Australia's first match in the World T20 will be in Mirpur against Pakistan on March 23.