Terry Jenner, popular as Shane Warne's mentor, swears by his most famous pupil. Even while imparting lessons to the 26 youngsters from Andhra and Kerala at the MAC Spin Foundation in Chennai, the 64-year-old Australian gives examples from Warne's book. Excerpts:
Do captains have a role in the decline of spin today?
I think it is fair to say that Shane Warne thinks captaincy is a problem with the development of spin bowling. It is sad that young spinners of today don't invite the batsmen to drive anymore. If you get hit, you will be taken off. You can't blame the coaches because the coaches take them so far and then the captains don't allow things to happen.
Ponting grew up in Tasmania where they did not have any spinners. His first captaincy was for Australia and when he took over, he had Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill. Now you have to captain spinners who are not of value. At the moment, he is struggling to get the best out of his spinners.
Is the advent of T20 killing spin?
It is hard to develop a spinner in four overs. Harbhajan helped India to the World T20 title because he bowled 100 kmph yorkers. He did not bowl off-breaks. You cannot ask 15 and 17-year-olds to do that. For developing spinners, they need to play the longer version. Warne grew up playing junior cricket at 18. He was still playing 'C' grade cricket. Today, if a kid the same age doesn't play 'A' grade, he is no good.
Is it right in not allowing spinners to play T20?
A couple of years ago I read about a former India captain saying that he would not allow Indian spinners to play limited-overs cricket till they turned 19. Here are people thinking about how to develop spinners.
Is Mendis a freak bowler?
Mendis is struggling on good batting pitches now. He has got Muralitharan at the other end. At the moment, he bowls at 90kmph. I hope he develops because we need that excitement.
Can doosra be bowled without straightening the arm?
I sense the doosra is going away bit-by-bit. Johan Botha (South Africa) was brought to Australia for Tests because he was reported for doosra. He is back with the same action but doesn't bowl doosra. Muralitharan looks the same. I don't think doosra is going to be the ball everyone thought it is going to be, like Mendis' carom. There is nothing wrong with a beautifully flighted off-break. Googly is a lovely ball but nothing better than the flighted ball that spins away.