Shane Warne to mentor spinners

The world's best tennis players are not the only ones enlisting the help of legendary predecessors. Just as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have had Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker in their respective corners at the Australian Open, the Australian cricket team has landed a coup by luring Shane Warne into the national set-up in an official capacity.

The leg-spin great is to work with the Australian team in the lead-up to the World Twenty20 tournament in March, coaching the side's spinners.

He will join the Australian staff in a consultancy role when the Twenty20 squad assembles in South Africa after the Test series for three internationals against the Proteas.

"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 Twenty20, where we'll specifically work on tactics and mindset," Warne said.

Australia's Twenty20 side, captained by George Bailey, is ranked a lowly eighth by the International Cricket Council but coach Darren Lehmann believes Warne's help can be vital.

Australia's spinners at the World Twenty20 are yet to be determined, with CA having issued organisers with a 30-man provisional list for the tournament in Bangladesh, which will be cut to a final 15-man squad next month.

The spin candidates include Glenn Maxwell and James Muirhead, named in the Australian squad for three Twenty20 matches against England, as well as veteran Brad Hogg and Xavier Doherty.

"We believe our national teams can really benefit from more specific skill-based coaching,'' 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.

"In the case of the ICC World Twenty20, 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.''

Muirhead was fast-tracked into the squad despite playing only two first-class matches and figures of 1-41 off seven overs in three BBL games for Melbourne Stars.

The 20-year-old has already worked with Warne. ''Definitely last year I was trying to get a wicket with every ball,'' Muirhead said this week. ''But I've had a couple of sessions with Shane Warne and it's all about bowling to a plan now.''

Bailey said Warne, who has captained teams in the BBL and the Indian Premier League, will boost the side. ''I'm thrilled to have him. He'd be one of the leading thinkers on T20 in the world, tactically.''

This story Shane Warne to mentor spinners first appeared on WA Today.