Warne helps out Australia ahead of World Cup semifinal clash

  • PTI, Sydney
  • Updated: Mar 26, 2015 02:54 IST

With the threat of in-form off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin looming large, Australian captain Michael Clarke on Wednesday summoned Shane Warne at the team's nets ahead of their World Cup semi-final clash against India in Sydney on Thursday.

Warne not only gave inputs to the Australian spinners but also turned the clock back during an hour at the nets where he was able to bamboozle some of the batsmen with his artistry.

In fact, both Clarke and Warne were engaged in deep discussion after the session as they left the venue.

Clad in a black sleeveless jacket and dark grey tracks, Warne arrived unnoticed and went inside the main stadium and walked straight towards Clarke, speaking to the skipper for a good 20 minutes.

In between, he was also seen helping fielding coach Mike Young, who was giving high catches to the fielders.

Once the fielding drills were over, Warne walked alongside Clarke to the adjacent net area where he was first seen standing at the umpire's position when Clarke was batting.

He gave some instructions to a left-arm spinner, who was bowling at the nets. Once Clarke got his eye in, Warne started to roll his arm over. After some warm-up deliveries, the legendary spinner was at work.

There were a couple of googlies that Clarke went on the backfoot and just about managed to keep it away. In between deliveries, there was a wry smile as fans started gathering and cheering him.

"C'mon Warnie" shouts were back and most of them were from Indian fans and, more precisely, Warne's fans.

The best part of his bowling came when James Faulkner faced him. After a few normal deliveries, there was a sharp leg-break and Faulkner could only manage to edge it towards first slip.

The smile was back and the next was a 'zooter' (Australian lingo for a flipper) that Faulkner completely misjudged. There were claps all around.

Then there was another wrong one from the master and this time, Faulkner was beaten lock stock and barrel.

After that he also bowled to Shane Watson and Aaron Finch while sharing a word or two with left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty.

It must be recalled that Warne had similarly dropped in at the South Africa nets during the World T20 in Bangladesh last year, spending considerable amount of time with leg-spinner Imran Tahir.

Call it ironical, but it was a semi-final and South Africa's opponent was India.

For the record, India handsomely beat South Africa in that game.

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