Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Shane Warne speaks about the 2009 Ashess and Twenty20 cricket

Shane Warne has joined the growing list to question some of the baffling selections on the recent Ashes tour.

Just days after Cricket Australia reappointed Andrew Hilditch as chairman until to the 2011 World Cup, Warne claimed some of the tactics and selections "hurt" the team.

Guest speaker at the Bradman Foundation's annual gala dinner in front of more than 750 devotees at the Sydney Cricket Ground, including dozens of former Test players, Warne claimed Australia was the better side in the 2009 Ashes.

"It really hurt to lose the Ashes to England," he said, after former greats Allan Davidson and Dennis Lillee had been inducted as honorees of the foundation.

"In 2005 England deserved to win because they were the better side. It was a great series of sportsmanship and camaraderie and the level of cricket was amazing. It captured everyone's imagination.

"In 2009 I don't think England were the better side.

"We had six of the top seven run-getters and four of the top five bowlers.

"Some of our tactics and selections hurt at crucial times. Hopefully, we have learnt from that."

While not going into specifics Warne, like many in the wider cricket community, was dumbfounded when Australia failed to pick spinner Nathan Hauritz for the deciding Test at The Oval on a dry and dusty pitch.

Warne also continued his push for Twenty20 cricket to take over from the one-day game.

This is a remarkable claim for someone who has taken the third-most wickets for Australia in one-day matches - 291 - and was instrumental in Australia's 1999 World Cup victory.

Warne is captain-coach of the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, which won the inaugural title in 2008.

Continuing to support Test cricket as the truest form of the sport, Warne claimed that the game could no longer support three versions.

"I know my employer Channel Nine won't be happy with that," Warne said.

"I love cricket. I want it to prosper, but I believe there is only room for two forms. Twenty20 and Test cricket is the way to go.

"Where you're judged as a player is in Test cricket. That's where you find out what it's all about.

"Twenty20 is fun. It's a short game. Kids can play it.

"In this day and age everyone wants something right now, Twenty20 fills that gap."

South Africa and England have already abandoned 50-over cricket in their domestic formats, reducing local one-day matches to 45 and 40 overs respectively.

This is despite the pinnacle of cricket, the World Cup, remaining the standard 50-over format.

Cricket Australia continues to steadfastly support all three forms of cricket and is not concerned about the rise of Twenty20 swamping the one-day game.

"Test cricket is in great shape in Australia and so is one-day cricket, particularly when we play it at the time of the year the fans tell us they want it," CA spokesman Peter Young said.

"We are fortunate as a sport to have three viable formats and we are convinced that we can, with appropriate planning and development, maintain three viable formats.

"There has been a big discussion in recent weeks within Australian cricket about the importance to us of maintaining and continuing to nurture 50-over cricket, the format which basically continues to pay world cricket's bills.

"The issue with Twenty20 will depend on developing it in a manner which complements, but does not compromise, Test and one-day cricket and we believe we are on a considered path.

"This involves not playing too much international Twenty20, developing it principally as an interstate or equivalent sport within the emerging Champions League Twenty20 structure with IPL, KFC Big Bash and other equivalents feeding into that."

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