Shane Warne believes Australia must improve their spin-bowling depth by using the slow men more often and more aggressively in state cricket. The retirement of Brad Hogg and uncertainty over Stuart MacGill's fitness has left Australia without a clear first-choice Test spinner and Warne says the lack of opportunities in some domestic teams is contributing to the dearth of options.
"A lot depends on the conditions they play under," Warne said. "Sometimes it's harder for some of the guys, like in Queensland for instance, where the Gabba should be one of the best places to bowl spin bowling.
"They've got to educate the captains up in Queensland about how to actually use the spinners, they're generally an afterthought. [They think] quick, quick, quick, let's go for another quick, let's go for a part-time quick, last day before lunch [ask the spinner to] have a bowl. That process is unfortunately around in a few places."
This year's domestic statistics back up Warne's concerns, with Victoria's legspinner Bryce McGain the only slow bowler in the Pura Cup's top 12 wicket-takers. Queensland's first-choice spinner, Daniel Doran, has been given only 16 overs per match on average, compared to McGain averaging 37 overs a game.
The trend is something Warne is trying to change in his new role as a spin coach with Cricket Australia. He is in Melbourne this week and will visit Sydney and Hobart next week, continuing his nationwide tour working with the tweakers and trying to help their captains understand how to use spin as an aggressive tactic.
Australia's main aim is to find somebody who can step into Warne's old role at international level and Warne believes MacGill remains the top choice, if he is fit and bowling well, with McGain the next best candidate. MacGill is 37 and McGain turns 36 this month, but Warne said it could be risky to give a younger man opportunities purely because of his long-term prospects.
"Sometimes it can be quite damaging for a young spinner that hasn't got the confidence to throw them in there and that could be the end of them, or they can be lost for a few years until they find their feet again," he said. "It can be good, but sometimes you've got to know what the personality is of the player, what makes them tick.
"We've got some good spinners there. [We don't] expect to turn up a spinner in a year or two that can take 500 Test wickets but what I could hope is that the spinners can actually perform consistently well over a period of time. If that happens then I think we're doing okay."