Two former Australia spinners who saw Shane Warne bowl earlier this week said his flippers looked dangerous in the lead-up to the Ashes series beginning on November 23. Warne's shoulder injuries have made him reluctant to bowl his signature ball in recent years.
But Warne sent down a series of flippers for Victoria against South Australia at Adelaide Oval last weekend, including one that trapped the tail-ender Paul Rofe lbw. The Victoria selector Ray Bright, the former Australia left-arm orthodox spinner, said in The Age he believed Warne was bowling from his full repertoire for the first time in years.
"Obviously his shoulder must be a lot better because I think that's what has restricted him in recent times - that his shoulder just hasn't been able to produce the flipper at a speed that's going to be workable for him at the top level," he said. "He tried a few others as well, but certainly the one that got Rofe out was the best one that landed. It's great for him, and great for Australia with the Ashes coming. I'm sure he gives them enough to worry about without the flipper, as we saw last year."
Terry Jenner, who spent time working with Warne before the South Australia game, said Warne's confidence must be high in the lead-up to the Ashes. "If the flipper's coming out, it's a huge bonus because he hasn't been that confident with it in recent years," he said. "He's made it quite clear he has no shoulder problems.
"It's just such a difficult delivery to bowl and when he was young and carefree, it just came in. Then he had a couple of operations and that sort of stuff and he didn't have the same confidence in the delivery. He's got confidence in his wrong'un, as well." Jenner said the flipper would be in the back of the England batsmen's minds. "If England knows it's there, they will be looking for it. If you want to play him off the back foot, you can at your peril."