Cape Town – Australian leg-spin legend Shane Warne appears to have given some impromptu aid to the South African spinners ahead of their ICC World Twenty20 semi-final against India in Dhaka on Friday.
The Press Trust of India reported that Warne, who has turned television commentator in retirement, dropped in on their net session on Wednesday, and he was also photographed in conversation with the primary Proteas spin-bowling weapon, leg-break specialist Imran Tahir.
“We were all surprised to find him at the nets ... maybe he was bored at the hotel and came over to have a bowl,” the report quoted seasoned SA batsman Hashim Amla as saying.
Apart from sending down a handful of deliveries to Quinton de Kock, he stood behind the stumps watching the Proteas’ spinners – Tahir, JP Duminy and Aaron Phangiso – turn their arms over.
He chatted to former international adversary and current SA bowling coach Allan Donald, leading to speculation that “White Lightning” had invited him to lend a brief hand.
Tahir will be a vital element of underdogs South Africa’s plans to fight fire with fire in the spin department against the Indians.
He is leading wicket-taker in the tournament-proper with 11 thus far at 9.18 after four matches (economy rate 6.31).
That places him just one behind seamer Ahsan Malik from now-eliminated surprise packages the Netherlands, although his 12 come from seven matches, as the preliminary phase featuring “minnow” nations is included in the official tournament stats.
Samuel Badree, the leg-spinner for fellow semi-finalists West Indies, has 10 scalps.South Africa's semi-final against India at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium is scheduled to start at 15:00 on Friday.
Shane Warne and Albie Morkel (AFP)