No amount of time with Shane Warne is enough. Primarily because of the straight talk he does. The former Aussie spinner, who breathed life into the dying art of leg-spin and left boots hard to fill, was thronged by cameras even after a 20-minute long media conference was over.
Excerpts from the interview to HT:
Australia are experiencing tough times here…
I think these guys have never experienced such conditions. It took us two tours to understand India before we finally won a series in 2004. It is unfair to make coach, Mickey Arthur, the scapegoat. Honestly, there are 4-5 players in Australia who should have been here with this squad.
Your views on Watson & Co being barred for a Test?
In isolation, the ‘homework-gate’ looks ridiculous. But there could be something else before that might have led to this.
That it involves Shane Watson surprises you?
When I was captain of the Rajasthan Royals, he was one of the players I wanted desperately. What disappoints me about Watson is that he’s got only two hundreds in 40 Tests.
He’s a far better player than that. I would like to see him back opening with Warner. They do pretty well together. Even if he is bowling, I’d like to see him open the batting.
You’ve not been a fan of coaches with laptops, or those like Pat Howard who came to cricket from rugby…
(Laughs) At the international level, you need people, man managers actually, who have played at that level and understand situations. Gary Kirsten (South Africa) and Andy Flower (England), two great cricketers, are coaching two of the best teams.
They understand the game. Yes, we had John Buchanan too. But his was a team even my son could have coached.
Are you good enough to play for Australia again?
I’ve learnt one thing in life, and that is ‘never-say-never’. My life has been like a soap opera. If you ask me, can I do it? I have no doubt that I will be able to do it.
But if you ask me will I do it? At 44 in September, then now is the time I have to start. I can’t go back and play grade cricket. The only reason I’ll be coming out of retirement is to help Australia. But, it may not be a long-term plan. So, I’d rather help the Aussies informally.
The art of leg-spin is declining… why?
It is pretty hard to bowl (laughs). Captains don’t back leggies. There are many 15 and 16-year-olds who show potential and spin the ball. But when they get hit for sixes, their captains go back to medium pace and defensive fielding options.
Spinners lose confidence and then they take up something else. If you are a spinner, you get hit. I have a record in Test cricket; I have been hit for most sixes. But I did take wickets.
Is Liz Hurley happier that you have a full head of hair again now?
Hair is an important part of one’s personality. But I guess she loves me whichever way I am.
Shane Warne is a brand ambassador of the Advanced Hair Studio