The World will like to see him again

WHILE controversy still rages in Australia about the Shane Warne affair, the general opinion seems to be he hasn't taken performance drugs, but he hasn't also been totally honest or open about exactly how many "slimming" tablets he has taken.


WHILE controversy still rages in Australia about the Shane Warne affair, the general opinion seems to be he hasn't taken performance drugs, but he hasn't also been totally honest or open about exactly how many "slimming" tablets he has taken.

It is also felt he has made the right decision not to appeal the 12 month ban and because of his over casual attention to what cannot be consumed when it comes to banned drugs the penalty imposed is a fair and just decision.

The big question now is whether he will play again, after 12 months in the wilderness and how his absence will affect Australia's performances.

Personally I think Shane will play Test cricket again if he keeps fit and trains and practises properly. He will not lack support and will find many teammates prepared to help and practise and train with him.

If he doesn't then he will find his natural genius, and that is what he is, will not be enough to allow him to bowl at his best. If he can't reach his old standards, Shane will not want to play.

He is a very proud person and particularly about his performances and his place in the Australian team. He won't want to be an also ran. Right now it is all up to him. The selector will want him back and World cricket supporters still want to see the World's greatest spinner ever in action once again. I have little doubt the Australian Test team will miss him badly.

Australia has a magnificent three pronged fast bowling attack in McGrath, Gillespie and Lee. But Warne's spinners have always been the icing on the cake.

He will certainly be missed on Australia's first tour - a visit to the West Indies straight after the World Cup.

The Windies have traditionally struggled against wrist spinner and apart from Brian Lara and Carl Hooper, when the mood strikes him, the current crop of Caribbean batsmen have trouble with this type of bowler.

Australia's two spinners in South Africa are left hand Chinaman style. Brad Hogg and orthodox off spinner Nathan Hauritz.

Hogg is a good cricketer, a wonderful fieldsman and steady batsman and at this stage a very handy bowler. He has lifted his standard since entering international cricket and improved his accuracy.

He is a confident, bubbly cricketer and in this aspect reminds me of another left hand tweaker Johnny Martin.

A Bush boy from a tiny hamlet of only 90 people, Johnny Martin just bubbled with his love for the game.

Hogg is cast in the same mould. Now over thirty he has been a late developer and last year made it back to the Australian team after a lengthy break.

He is a different bowler to the youngster Indian supporters saw when he toured there when first selected for his country.

His action is better and this has improved his accuracy quite dramatically.

He has a full range of deliveries but the one I expect to reap the most rewards will be his wrong 'un. He bowled a beautiful flipper to completely deceive Andy Flower and knock his stumps over and received world wide praise for it.

A word of caution to Hogg on this particular type of delivery.

I was asked many years ago by Sir Donald Bradman, when he was chairman of the Australian selection panel, how I felt Richie Benaud was bowling.

I said: I felt he wasn't bowling as well as usual for he had lost his accuracy and had become infatuated with his new found flipper.

Bradman laughed loudly at this and when I enquired why he explained that the same thing had happened to the great Clarrie Grimmet and he was never the same bowler again and neither was Richie Benaud.

The reason Bradman and I agreed on was they became too reliant on the flipper and this caused them to lose their accuracy.

The flipper is totally different from all other deliveries bowled by wrist spinners.

The leg spinner, top spinner or wrong 'un are all bowled over the fingers with wrist positions slightly changed.

The flipper is delivered under the wrist and fingers and propelled in the same way as you click your finger and thumb to make a noise.

A very difficult assignment, easy to pick and almost impossible to control.

When I first saw Nathan Hauritz bowl, I felt he was one of the most gifted finger spinners I had seen.

He had a wonderful easy high action with beautiful flight and drift - God's gift which few off spinners are given.

In recent times though he has looked different. He has a lower arm, less drive at the delivery position and appears to have lost his flight and drift.

It looks to me he has been influenced by a spin doctor, pushing his own theories.

Whereas Hauritz used to land on a lovely front foot platform and then allow momentum to carry him onto his front toe for extra height, he is now trying to land on his front toe only.

This is a method used and coached by a former Australian off spinner and while it may have suited that bowler it, in my view is most unsuitable for most off spinners as it badly affects their balance and body drive. I just hope it is not too late for Hauritz to return to his natural action.

Stuart MacGill's best chance to win a spot in the Australian team will be the West Indies tour. At his best MacGill is a lovely spinner of the ball with wonderful flight, two things that have always created problems for the Windies. Unfortunately, of late, both his length and line have not been good.

MacGill is a very emotional person and his temper sometimes gets the better of him.

This has led to him being suspended on occasions and I believe not allowed him to bowl with the control necessary at international level.

The West Indies may be his best chance to secure his Test berth.