Warne to act as Aust’s T20 spin coach

Shane Warne’s appointment as spin consultant in the build-up to Australia’s World Twenty20 campaign is a bonus for 20-year-old leggie James Muirhead.


Cricket Australia announced on Thursday Warne would provide specialist coaching to the squad’s spinners in South Africa.

The Australia T20 squad will assemble in South Africa on March 3 for a three-match series against the home side starting on March 9.

Warne will join the squad in South Africa for the T20 series but won’t continue on with the Aussies to Bangladesh for the World T20.

Australia’s first game in the tournament is against Pakistan in Mirpur on March 23.

“We believe our national teams can really benefit from more specific skill-based coaching as and when it is needed,” Australia coach Darren 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.”

Lehmann said spin bowling would be crucial to eighth-ranked Australia’s success in the tournament.

“There’s no better person than Shane to help guide the spinners we select in that squad,” Lehmann said.

“He was a gifted cricketer and remains passionate about spin bowling and seeing our players be the best that they can be.”

Warne, 44, said he was thrilled with his new role.

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

Muirhead has been named alongside spin-bowling allrounder Glenn Maxwell in Australia’s squad for their three-game T20 series against England starting on January 29 in Hobart.

Despite the modest figures of 1-41 off seven overs in three BBL games for Melbourne Stars this summer, selectors have seen enough in the youngster’s loop and raw spin to suggest a future at international level.

Muirhead says he has learnt a lot already in his five-game BBL career.

“Definitely last year I was trying to get a wicket with every ball,” Muirhead told reporters this week.

“But I’ve had a couple of sessions with Shane Warne and it’s all bowling to a plan (now).

“It could be a three-over plan, or a three-ball plan.

“Setting the batsman up for the delivery that you want to take the wicket with … so you really have a plan against each batsman and trying to execute that is my game.”

Australia T20 skipper George Bailey said Warne, who has captained teams in the BBL and the Indian Premier League, will boost the side on many levels.

“I’m thrilled to have him on board as a spin coach, but he brings so much more to the table,” Bailey said.

“He’d be one of the leading thinkers on T20 in the world, tactically.”

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