Johannesburg: He may be playing in his last World Cup, but Australian spin legend Shane Warne is determined to make sure his legacy lives on. The 33-year-old, man-of-the-final when Australia won the World Cup at Lord's in 1999, is passing on the tricks of his mysterious trade to Brad Hogg as the foundations for the future are put in place.
"The thought of the two of us bowling together is fantastic," said Warne as he pondered another battle with old rivals Pakistan at the Wanderers here on Tuesday. "We are working on spinning his (Hogg's) leg break a bit more and trying to minimise his bad balls. He's got a good flipper, but sometimes he rushes it and drags it down," said Warne who, with 291 One-day wickets, will be looking to break the 300 barrier over the next six weeks. "I have also been trying to teach Brad the slider.
He's starting to get there. I am teaching him all of my tricks," Warne told the 'Johannesburg Star' newspaper. Hogg, a left-arm spinner as opposed to Warne's right-arm mastery, has endured a fitful career having made his international debut in 1996 since which time he has played just 15 times and taken only 15 wickets. "One thing that Warne has always told me is to keep your variations in your pocket but I'm not going to talk about what we've been working on - I will let the king do that," said the 32-year-old farmer's son from the Western Australian bush. Warne, meanwhile, insists that his injured shoulder will not prove a barrier to his performance here.
"The big tournaments bring out the best in me and the team. In tough situations, I love having the ball in my hand because I feel I can turn the game," he said. The Australians, meanwhile, say they are determined to take the relaxed route to a potential World Cup title repeat. "In 1996, we wanted it so much that it was all we ever talked about. We trained hard and for long periods that it had a little bit of a detrimental effect. When we got to the final we were on edge too much," said Warne as he looked back on that defeat to Sri Lanka in Lahore. "What we have started to do is relax a lot more and go out and play. If we play our best, I am sure we can win the World Cup."