Mann urges Warne to change style at WACA - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mann urges Warne to change style at WACA

15/12/2005 06:52:16 PM Comments (0)

Former Test leg-spinner Tony Mann has urged Shane Warne to drop his pace and bowl with greater flight if he wants to thrive at the WACA Ground.

The WACA is Warne's worst ground in Australia with his 26 wickets in 10 Tests costing 39 runs apiece.

But the WACA pitch is unusually brown and is set to spin so much in the first Test that former pace ace Dennis Lillee said Stuart MacGill should have been retained in the Australian attack.

That could provide a path for Warne to not only take the two wickets he needs to pass Lillee's record of 85 wickets in a calendar year but also produce his best effort at the ground.

Mann, who scored a century as nightwatchman at the WACA in his second Test in 1977-78 and had a fine bowling record at the ground for more than a decade for WA, said Warne could improve his return with a change to his approach.

Flight was the key to spin bowling success at the WACA, Mann said.

"When you're on a square turner like the SCG the spin factor is so important but on the WACA where it doesn't turn as much the flight factor is vital," Mann said.

"Warne is a fantastic bowler but on the WACA you have to chuck your leg-spinners in the air.

"He has a magnificent tempo for the wickets he bowls on but the WACA is a special deck.

"I watched him bowl in Brisbane the other day and I thought he bowled better than whenever I have seen him.

"But he needs to slow back to about 75 kmh or so."

Mann said spinners who focused on flight always had success in Perth because the strong sea breeze offered opportunities to make the ball drift and drop.

He learnt the art of bowling at the WACA from watching Test leg-spinner Peter Philpott, who averaged 26 in Sheffield Shield matches at the ground, and then playing with long-time WA captain Tony Lock.

The former England spinner took 151 wickets at the WACA for WA - the same tally as all the eastern States grounds combined - at the excellent average of 23.

"Philpott was a fantastic legspinner at the WACA because he would chuck them up into the Seabreeze," Mann said.

"The one who followed that was Tony Lock and he really was a flight bowler at the WACA.

"In watching them I thought that's what I would do as well.

"I was reasonably successful at the WACA and certainly more so than the eastern States because I learnt to throw them up into the sea breeze.

"When we played here there was no big Lillee Marsh stand to block the wind which used to come in really strongly and be perfect for flight spin."

But Mann acknowledged Warne's great strength was his accuracy and that he might be reluctant to risk that element by changing the tempo of his bowling.

Mann had advised Warne and his mentor Terry Jenner, his former WA teammate and later South Australian leggie, that less pace and more flight had greater value in Perth.

Warne had no illusions about his task at the WACA, saying this week he was a partnership breaker rather than strike bowler.

"You know when you go there that you're not going to take a big haul of wickets."

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