Apr 042014
 

Kevin Pietersen at Lord's

Kevin Pietersen will return to Lord’s later this year to play for the Rest of the World side against the MCC

© REUTERS / Action Images

Kevin Pietersen, Muttiah Muraitharan and Charlotte Edwards are among the latest players confirmed to play in matches to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lord’s later this year.

MCC Women’s XI: Charlotte Edwards (captain), Arran Brindle, Holly Colvin, Kathryn Cross, Isa Guha, Jenny Gunn, Danielle Hazell, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver, Claire Taylor, Sarah Taylor

Rest of the World XI: Suzie Bates, Deandra Dottin, Jhulan Goswami, Marizanne Kapp, Meg Lanning, Sana Mir, Ellyse Perry, Rachel Priest, Mithali Raj, Shashikala Siriwardene, Stafanie Taylor

Pietersen will play for the Rest of the World side, captained by Shane Warne, in a 50-over game against an MCC side on 5th July while Edwards will captain an MCC Women’s XI against a Rest of the World side in a 50-over match on 19th May.

She will be joined by several of her current team-mates as well as recently retired players Arran Brindle, Isa Guha, and Claire Taylor.

The Rest of the World side will be coached by another ex-England player in Caroline Atkins, and will include Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Mithali Raj, Suzie Bates and Stafanie Taylor in a strong line-up.

“Lord’s is such a special place to play cricket and I can’t wait to help MCC celebrate the current Ground’s bicentenary by taking part in this game,” Edwards said.

“Some of the best female cricketers in the world are going to be on show and it’s the perfect opportunity to show the cricketing world the quality within the women’s game.”

Meanwhile, Pietersen will join forces with his former Hampshire team-mate Warne when the Rest of the World side takes on the MCC.

Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will also play for the Rest of the World side while Australian fast bowler Brett Lee will feature for the MCC.

Lee said: “I was very proud to have been given MCC Honorary Life Membership last year and it will be a pleasure to help the Club celebrate the Lord’s Bicentenary by playing in this match.

“Lord’s is a great place to play cricket and this is a fantastic opportunity for me. There are a lot of familiar faces involved in both teams and I’m looking forward to celebrating such a special occasion with them.”

MCC confirmed players: Sachin Tendulkar (captain), Paul Collingwood, Rahul Dravid, Brett Lee

Rest of the World confirmed players: Shane Warne (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kevin Pietersen

Unassigned players: Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Virender Sehwag, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Shaun Tait, Tamim Iqbal, Daniel Vettori, Yuvraj Singh

Muralitharan said: “It’s a great honour to have been asked to take part in this historic fixture, and I can’t wait to get back to Lord’s for the match.

“I thoroughly enjoyed playing for MCC in the UAE recently and it’s very exciting to be involved with the Club again.”

And Pietersen added: “I was very pleased to be asked to be involved in this game and the chance to share the Lord’s pitch with some of best players in the world is one I was delighted to accept.

“Shane Warne is a good friend of mine and I’ve enjoyed playing alongside him before so I’m sure it’ll be great fun to do it again.

“Playing at Lord’s is always very special and I’m looking forward to celebrating the 200th anniversary of what is a fantastic ground.”

© Cricket World 2014

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Apr 022014
 
Warne’s manifesto becoming reality

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EITHER Shane Warne is a clairvoyant, or he has more influence over the big decisions in Australian cricket than many at Cricket Australia would like to admit.

A little over a year ago the leg-spin legend released what soon became known as the ‘Warne Manifesto’, a sprawling, three-part essay that mused on the state of Australian cricket, the people playing it and the people running it.

Much of it was laughed off as “Warnie being Warnie”, with some of the more creative theories given little to no chance of actually coming to fruition.

But fast-forward about 14 months and several of Warne’s forecasts have remarkably come true, while others appear on the cusp of turning from pipe dreams into reality.

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We’ve run over the Warne Manifesto with a fine-tooth comb and can now present the list of his proposals that were spot on, the ones that could come true and those that were wider of the mark than Darryl Cullinan’s attempts to play Warne.

HE PICKED IT

The coach: OK, so Warnie might have been way off when he said former New Zealand coach Stephen Fleming should take over from Mickey Arthur (see ‘HE BOWLED A WIDE’ below), but he was bang on when he said Darren Lehmann should be involved in the coaching setup. Warnie wanted Boof, coach of Queensland and Brisbane Heat at the time, to be Fleming’s assistant. Instead, Cricket Australia made the bold decision to give Lehmann the top job just two weeks out from last year’s Ashes series in England. Just a few months later a rejuvenated side under Lehmann recorded a historic Ashes whitewash.

Selector Rod Marsh (L) and coach Darren Lehmann (R) at the World T20 in Bangladesh.

Selector Rod Marsh (L) and coach Darren Lehmann (R) at the World T20 in Bangladesh. Source: Getty Images

The one-day team: Warne shared with the world who he thought should be in Australia’s Test, one-day and T20 squads. The one that bears the greatest resemblance to the current side is the ODI squad. Every player that featured in Australia’s most recent one-dayer, against England in January, was named in Warne’s squad of 15 except for spinner Xavier Doherty.

IT’S A CLOSE SHOUT

The selectors: At the moment Australia’s selection panel is the same as the one in place when the manifesto was penned, with the exception of Michael Clarke who stood down as a selector midway through last year. (Interesting side note: Warne’s manifesto stated the coach should not be a selector and the captain should be. So maybe best buddies Warnie and Pup don’t agree on everything). However, with John Inverarity mooted to step down in a few months Warne’s call for Rod Marsh to be chairman of selectors is likely to be heeded, while the hot tip to replace Inverarity on the panel is Mark Waugh — another name put forward by Warne.

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CEO of cricket: Warne may not get his way when it comes to the title, but there is a chance the current man who is essentially ‘cricket supremo’, Pat Howard, is on his last legs. Howard, whose actual title is General Manager — Team Performance, became a magnet for criticism last year. That dried up during Australia’s golden summer, but returned to the fore when former fielding coach Steve Rixon blasted Howard upon being dumped from the national setup. Taylor is already a part of Cricket Australia as a board member, but would need to ditch his high-paying commentary job to take up the role if it was vacated by Howard.

HE BOWLED A WIDE

Coach: Warne was the first to raise former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming as a possible Australia coach, and we’re pretty sure he remains the only one to make that suggestion. Fleming has a decent record as a coach in the Indian Premier League, but after the end of Mickey Arthur’s reign it’s unlikely CA will go with a foreign coach for a long time.

Warne, ex-wife Simone and former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming back in 2009.

Warne, ex-wife Simone and former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming back in 2009. Source: Supplied

Bowling coaches: Since being reappointed ahead of the summer, Craig McDermott has been widely credited with turning Australia’s pace attack into the best in world cricket. It’s highly questionable if Warne’s choices, Merv Hughes and Bruce Reid, would have had close to the same impact.

WARNE’S WISHLIST vs REALITY

Warne’s selectors: Rod Marsh (chairman), Mark Waugh, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath

Current selectors: John Inverarity (chairman), Rod Marsh, Andy Bichel, Darren Lehmann

Warne’s coach: Stephen Fleming

Current coach: Darren Lehmann

Warne’s assistant coach: Darren Lehmann

Current assistant coach: N/A

Warne’s batting coaches: Mike Hussey, Michael Bevan

Current batting coach: Michael Di Venuto

Warne’s bowling coaches: Merv Hughes, Bruce Reid

Current bowling coach: Craig McDermott

Warne’s consultant: Ian Chappell

Current consultant: Shane Warne

Shane Warne has championed the cause of James Faulkner for a few years now.

Shane Warne has championed the cause of James Faulkner for a few years now. Source: Getty Images

WARNE’S DREAM TEAMS

Warne’s Test squad: David Warner, Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Michael Clarke (c), Callum Ferguson, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Phil Hughes, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Usman Khawaja, Ryan Harris, Moises Henriques, Jackson Bird.

Shane Warne’s one-day squad: Aaron Finch, David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Michael Clarke, George Bailey, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc, Clint McKay, Nathan Hauritz, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Johnson

Shane Warne’s T20 squad: Aaron Finch, David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade (c), James Faulkner, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty, Michael Beer, Ben Cutting, Moises Henriques/Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Johnson

Apr 022014
 
Cricket South Africa: Shane Warne provides valuable tips to Proteas spinners

As the South African team prepares to take on India in the semifinal on Friday, the Proteas had a special guest in Dhaka. Spin wizard Shane Warne visited the net session and handed them some tips.

We were all surprised to find him at the nets. May be he was getting bored at the hotel and came over to have a bowl,” said senior batsman Hashim Amla.

Warne spent over an hour at the nets offering his prowess to help spinners like Imran Tahir ahead the big ticket clash against India. 

He watched all the spinners with a keen interest. Though he kept his attention mainly to Tahir but he also looked at JP Duminy bowl his off-breaks and left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso roll his arm over.

He had a long chat with his old mate and rival Allan Donald, who is the South African bowling coach. There are rumours that Warne might have dropped in to guide Tahir on Donald’s insistence.

The preparation has been good. Obviously, we had some time before the semi-finals and got some time to rest after back to back games. It’s a good opportunity for us. We have played some good cricket, won some close games and that is as hard as our team has ever been,” Amla said of their performance so far.

He said the South African team is not worried about facing an in-form Team India in the semi-final.

No, I think whatever you get drawn in, it’s out of your hand.”

“My game depends on what team needs at a particular time. The game has to be set up. My job is to play positively upfront and give the team a good start. Some days it works, some days, it does not. But I am enjoying my role in T20’s. I am enjoying this period and the experience.”

“I think it’s all about assessing situations of the game and playing according to it. It’s not only about scoring quicker upfront but you have to see what your partner is doing,” he added.

Mar 212014
 
Muirhead learning art of being Warne

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JUST when the world’s best batsmen thought Shane Warne had finished muddling with their minds, along comes his young spin protégé James Muirhead.

Legspin great Warne is set to have a second coming in international cricket through the mind games he has taught the rookie 20-year-old Australian T20 legspinner.

Warne worked with Muirhead in South Africa recently, teaching him more about tactical spin nous rather than the technical side of legspin bowling.

Muirhead could be a key man in Australia’s T20 campaign in Bangladesh, which kicks off with their opening match against Pakistan in Dhaka tomorrow.

POWER RANKINGS: RATE AUSTRALIA’S T20 STARS

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He won’t play every game but will more than likely be used against teams which have predominantly right-handed batsmen.

And he will have Warne’s words at the forefront of his mind.

“One thing I think of consciously when I bowl is that Warney told me I should bowl the ball when I am ready — not when the batsman is ready,” Muirhead said.

“Playing those little mind games, especially in international cricket, is something that is really going to help me.

“Working with Warney has been amazing, mainly through the stuff he has taught me about the mental side of the game and a lot of tactical advice.

“That is something I have put into my game and hopefully I can use that in the T20 World Cup.”

James Muirhead sends one down against England in Hobart.

James Muirhead sends one down against England in Hobart. Source: News Limited

Muirhead’s selection in the squad for Australia’s T20 World Cup tilt shows just how much the role of spinners in T20 cricket has changed.

T20 spinners used to be deployed almost exclusively to dart the ball in and slow the frenetic pace of the game, and it was a happy bonus if they took a wicket.

But Muirhead is an attacking spinner who has no fear of bowling bad balls — he just tries to rip every delivery, regardless of the previous ball.

“Bowling legspin at this level, you have to have a lot of self-belief. If you bowl a bad ball, what can you do except focus on the next ball?” Muirhead says.

“Legspin is pretty hard to bowl so you have got to have that inner confidence.

“Spinners are there to take wickets in T20 cricket.

“I want to prove a point that legspinners are useful in T20 cricket and they are difficult to get away.”

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It has been a rapid rise for Muirhead, who had never even been to an international match until he was 13th man for Australia’s final ODI against England in January.

Five days later he found himself standing in the middle of the MCG in front of nearly 65,000 spectators.

At the start of last summer, Muirhead was not considered good enough to be playing for any of the eight Big Bash franchises. It was not until December 19 he was brought in by the Melbourne Stars as a replacement for the injured James Faulkner.

There will never be another Warne, and nothing can really prepare Muirhead for his role in joining the Australian T20 spin attack of Brad Hogg and Glenn Maxwell in the heat of battle in Bangladesh.

But Muirhead is determined to try to walk in the footsteps of his hero Warne.

James Muirhead picked up the wicket of Brendon McCullum in a warm-up match against New Ze

James Muirhead picked up the wicket of Brendon McCullum in a warm-up match against New Zealand. Source: AFP

“Growing up as a kid, I used to idolise Warney and I used to copy his run-up and have a similar action,” Muirhead smiles.

“For me, watching Warney on TV was even better than going and watching him live. I can’t believe I’m already playing for Australia, just being on tour with the Australian side is an absolutely incredible experience.”

Hogg, who at 43 is more than two decades older than Muirhead, is a big fan of the confident young leggie.

“He is an exciting talent and he turns the ball a hell of a lot more than me, he probably turns it as much as what Warney and Stuart MacGill did,” Hogg says.

Feb 252014
 
Shane Warne to the rescue

Wounded Warne says the stage is set for his mate Michael Clarke to stand and deliver in Cape Town.

A damaged Shane Warne is in Cape Town and fired up to help Australia in any way he can.

Warne told Melbourne radio station Triple M that aside from being in South Africa to assist the spinners ahead of the T20 internationals against South Africa, and then in the ICC T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, he is also there to offer guidance to international skippers Michael Clarke and George Bailey.

“I’m back with the Australian team helping the spinners prepare for the World Cup,” Warne said, from Cape Town.

“We’ll help George Bailey out with the T20 captaincy side of things too.

“And also I’ll be making sure the boys are up for this Test match, and making sure Michael Clarke is ready to go.”

Warne, a renowned close friend of Clarke, set the stage for the Ashes-winning captain to make his mark in the series deciding Test against the Proteas in Cape Town.

“When you look at it Australia has won six of the last seven Test matches and in the last few Test matches Michael Clarke hasn’t had to make runs.” said Warne.

“We’ve been relying on him for the last two or three years, and a lot of the other guys are putting their hands up now and making runs which is great.

“What a time for him to stand up and make a big score in this Test match and the Australian boys to beat England 5-0 and beat South Africa 2-1, it’d be a huge achievement.”

Meanwhile, Warne is still nursing welts on his torso after agreeing to be shot by people with paintball guns from five metres away.

“If anyone wants to go paintballing and tells you it doesn’t hurt that much; they’re lying because it absolutely kills,” he said.

“Especially from five metres away and 50 of them!”

Related Story: Hogg on Warne’s role

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 26 February, 2014 11:06AM AEST

Feb 182014
 
Gilchrist to join Warne at Lord’s

Back together ... Cricketer Adam Gilchrist (left) will join Shane Warne at the Lord’s bic

Back together … Cricketer Adam Gilchrist (left) will join Shane Warne at the Lord’s bicentenary match. Source: News Limited

ADAM Gilchrist will be behind the stumps to fellow Australia great Shane Warne one more time after his involvement in the Lord’s bicentenary match was confirmed.

Gilchrist will be a member of the Rest of the World team captained by Warne that will play Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the owners of Lord’s, in a one-day match on July 5 celebrating the London ground’s 200th anniversary.

“I’m privileged to have been asked to play in this match on such an exciting occasion,’’ Gilchrist said in a statement.

“Lord’s is a wonderful place to play cricket and I’m really looking forward to helping celebrate its bicentenary in this match.

“There are going to be a lot of familiar faces around and it’ll be a lot of fun to play alongside a couple of old teammates too.’’

Meanwhile former Australia fast bowler Shaun Tait and New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori have also been added to the line-up of leading players taking part.

India hero Sachin Tendulkar will captain a MCC side that also includes his long-time international colleague and Rahul Dravid.

Their fellow India batsman Yuvraj Singh, is also set to play in the fixture at the “home of cricket” as is West Indies’ mainstay Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

The 42-year-old Gilchrist, who played two Tests and six One Day Internationals at Lord’s, averaged over 40 at the ground during a career in which he took over 900 dismissals in 396 international matches.

Left-arm spinner Vettori secured a coveted place on the Lord’s honours board by taking five for 69 against England in a Test in 2008. He also holds the record for the best ODI figures at Lord’s, with five for 30 against West Indies in 2004.

MCC president and former England captain Mike Gatting said: “The teams for this match are really taking shape now, and everyone both inside and outside MCC is really looking forward to Saturday 5th July.

“The prospect of watching Gilchrist keeping to Warne again is one that’s sure to whet the appetite of any cricket fan, and the talent on show at this match will be fitting of the occasion.’’

“It’s testament to the standing MCC has around the cricketing world that players like Adam, Shaun and Daniel want to come and celebrate the bicentenary of the current Lord’s Ground with the club, and there are more big names to come.’’

As a player, top-order batsman Gatting was involved in a similar, star-studded, match in 1987 when he scored 179 for MCC against the Rest of the World in a five-day fixture marking the 200th anniversary of the club.

MCC, founded in 1787, moved to its present site in the northwest London suburb of St John’s Wood in 1814, with the ground owned by entrepreneur Thomas Lord — hence its name.

Although it is more than 40 years since MCC ceased to run English cricket, it retains worldwide responsibility for the game’s “Laws”, as cricket’s rules are known.

Jan 232014
 
'Boof Power' brings Warne back

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AFTER many years of happily fanning wild speculation of an international comeback, globetrotting Shane Warne has finally decided to give something back to Australian cricket.

With more time on his hands since busting up with ex-fiancée Liz Hurley, the 44-year-old legspin legend will be spin coach for Australia in the lead-up to the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March.

Warne will not be at event but will work with the Australian team in South Africa before they head off for the T20 tournament in the subcontinent.

Warne’s appointment is another example of “Boof Power” – the ever-growing influence of coach Darren Lehmann who has cherry-picked his support staff since landing the job when Australia was at its lowest ebb last year.

Test fast bowling coach Craig McDermott, who returned to the job before the Ashes, was another key Lehmann appointee as was fitness coach Damian Mednis who came from Queensland Bulls.

Warne and Lehmann have a long relationship dating back to their playing days and Warne called for Lehmann to be appointed Australian coach when he published his “manifesto” about what needed to be done to fix Australian cricket.

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It is highly doubtful whether Warne will be appointed to a more permanent spin coaching role given his business commitments which include travelling the world for cricket commentary and playing high-stakes poker.

But Warne’s appointment has created huge ripples of excitement in Australian cricket as there is no doubt he has a sharp mind for coaching and can expertly tutor the next generation of young spinners.

Until now Warne seemed happy revelling in repeated and tiresome speculation of an international comeback – and posting pictures of himself on social media – rather than having any serious involvement in Australian cricket.

But it is a positive sign that he has now chosen to help out and it is rising young Victorian legspinner James Muirhead who looks like being the immediate beneficiary.

Muirhead, 20, was recently a selection bolter for three upcoming T20 internationals against England, in a sign that Australia may be prepared to gamble on raw spin talent for the T20 World Cup on spinning subcontinent pitches.

It was always going to be impossible to replace 708-Test wicket-taker Warne when he retired in 2007 but Australia believes it needs a leggie to round out its rapidly improving team.

Lehmann, who has the golden touch, believes Warne’s guile can help spark Australia to further success.

“In the case of the World Twenty 20, we believe spin bowling will be critical to success,” Lehmann said.

“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.”

Tactical spin planning rather than technical assistance seems to be Warne’s mission.

“I’m excited to be working with Australia’s spinners in South Africa,” Warne said.

“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.”

Australia currently sits a lowly eighth in the World T20 rankings and plays India, Pakistan and West Indies in their T20 World Cup group games, starting on March 23.

The 44-year-old leg spin legend will be as spin coach for Australia in the lead-up to the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March.

Warne will not be at the event but will work with the Australian team in South Africa before they head off for the T20 tournament in the subcontinent.

Warne’s appointment is another example of ”Boof Power” – the ever-growing influence of coach Darren Lehmann who has cherrypicked his support staff since landing the job when Australia was at its lowest ebb last year.

Test fast bowling coach Craig McDermott, who returned to the job before the Ashes, was another key Lehmann appointee.

Warne and Lehmann have a long relationship dating back to their playing days and Warne called for Lehmann to be appointed Australian coach when he published his ”manifesto” about needed to be done to fix Australian cricket.

It is highly doubtful whether Warne will be appointed to a more permanent spin coaching role given his business commitments which include travelling the world for cricket commentary and playing high-stakes poker.

But Warne’s appointment has created huge ripples of excitement in Australian cricket as there is no doubt he has a sharp mind for coaching and can expertly tutor the next generation of young spinners like Muirhead.

The Victorian yunsgter, 20, was a selection bolter for three upcoming T20 internationals against England, in a sign that Australia may be prepared to gamble on raw spin talent for the T20 World Cup on spinning subcontinent pitches.

Chairman of selectors John Inverarioty said he wanted a leggie to round out its rapidly improving team.

Lehmann, who has the golden touch, believes Warne’s guile can help spark Australia to further success.

””In the case of the World Twenty 20, we believe spin bowling will be critical to success,” Lehmann said.

”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.”

Tactical spin planning rather than technical assistance seems to be Warne’s mission.

“I’m excited to be working with Australia’s spinners in South Africa,” Warne said.

”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.”

Australia currently sits a lowly eighth in the World T20 rankings and plays India, Pakistan and the West Indies in their T20 World Cup group games, starting on March 23.

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