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Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Spin to win
By Rob Hodgetts

Shane Warne
Australia's Warne is the world's leading Test wicket-taker
Shane Warne could go from England's nemesis to saviour as he strives to unearth a future spin-bowling star.

The Australian leg-spinner, the world's leading Test wicket-taker with 685, is spearheading a scheme to revive the art of spin among England's schoolchildren.

And the 36-year-old is keen to pass on his legacy even if it means helping out the old enemy.

"You could say leg-spin is a dying art but that's not going to happen on my watch," said Warne.

"My task is to keep the spin-bowling brotherhood going on around the world.

"Cricket has been very good to me over the years and now it's time to put something back into the game.

"By giving kids the chance to benefit from my experience and learn some of my techniques, I hope to be able to pass on some of my love and enthusiasm of the game to a new generation of kids - even if they are Poms."

Warne will join up with the Lord's Taverners "Spin to Win" campaign and Capital Kids Cricket to develop specialist equipment and teach young cricketers between the ages of eight and 11 the skills of spin bowling.

Shane Warne
Warne is keen to pass on his legacy - even to the English

Their summer programme will culminate in an exclusive coaching day with Warne in September, which will feature 100 promising young bowlers from across the country.

"Everyone needs a hero and we reckon we've found one," said William Greaves, a founder and trustee of Capital Kids Cricket, a voluntary organisation which works with primary and secondary schools throughout London.

Warne, from Ferntree Gully, Victoria, was named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century in 2000.

But the Hampshire captain is worried that his spinning trade could be dying out, especially in England where the weather, pitches and unobliging county captains conspire against the development of world-class spin talent.

Being a spinner is fun and there is nothing wrong with being hit for six
Shane Warne

"In England there is a lack of spin bowling and a lot of that is down to the attitude of captains who always revert to the medium-pacers with one slip, a third man and a ring field," said Warne, who is involved in a similar grass-roots scheme in Australia.

"It's important spin bowlers are encouraged when they are younger and not told to bowl faster and keep the lid on the runs.

"Being a spinner is fun and there is nothing wrong with being hit for six - the batsman can always run down and miss the next one.

"I'd rather see a spinner take 1-50 and change the course of the game."

Lord's Taverners president Mike Gatting knows all too well how mastery of the art can prove a destructive weapon.

The former England star was bamboozled by Warne's career-defining first Test delivery in England which pitched outside leg stump and hit off in 1993.

"As the first Test victim of Shane's wizardry in this country, I know better than most how important a match-winning spinner can be to a cricket side," said Gatting.


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