Warne blames defensive captains for leg-spin decline

NEW DELHI Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:46pm IST

Australia's Shane Warne tosses a cricket ball as he stands on the turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground after announcing his retirement from the sport at a news conference in Melbourne December 21, 2006. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

Australia's Shane Warne tosses a cricket ball as he stands on the turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground after announcing his retirement from the sport at a news conference in Melbourne December 21, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Six years since he quit international cricket with 1,000 wickets to his name and a reputation for reviving a moribund craft, Shane Warne is concerned about the current lack of high-class leg-spinner in cricket.

Five slow bowlers feature in the top 10 test bowlers' list but none are leg-spinners, who seem to be being overshadowed by their left-arm and off-spinning cousins.

Warne blamed the defensive mindset of captains as the primary reason for the decline of the craft he mastered and glamorised in his illustrious 15-year-old career.

"Without trying to be arrogant about it, it's hard," the 43-year-old Australian told reporters on Thursday.

"That's why we are not seeing a lot of leg-spinners around the world. It's difficult in this age of cricket. So much Twenty20 and so much relying on economy rate."

Warne said what made it tough was the attitude of the captains even at junior level, which is in stark contrast with the skippers he and his contemporary Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble bowled under.

"If they (young leg-spinners) get hit for too many sixes, the captain takes them off and goes back to the medium pace bowler with a ring field to get the economy rate down and these guys lose interest," he said.

"We are going for left-arm spinners and off-spinners, who bowl accurate and (maintain) good economy rate."

A prodigious turner of the ball, Warne is not a great fan of the line-and-length bowler.

"If I want a fast bowler playing in my team, I would want him to bowl fast. If I want a swing bowler in my team, I want him to swing the ball. If I want a spin bowler in my team, what do I want him to do? I want him to spin the ball.

"I want to see the ball spin ... They are great to have in the team as another option, but the main spinner, I want him to spin the ball."

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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