Flintoff will become Warne~~s next bunny: Rodney Hogg

Published: Friday, April 22, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne:England were 'petrified' of Australia's ace leg-spinner Shane Warne and he was set for a record wicket haul in this year's Ashes cricket series, former Australian fast bowler Rodney Hogg said.

Hogg, who took 41 wickets in the 1978-79 Ashes series, also claimed England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff could become Warne's next 'bunny' in much the same way that former South African batsman Darryl Cullinan fell regularly to Warne.

"They're petrified of Warne, absolutely scared of him," Hogg said on Friday.

"He's got such a bluff over them that he's already got wickets before he comes on to bowl, as soon as he's driving to the ground he's got wickets against them."

England off-spinner Jim Laker holds the Ashes series record with 46 wickets in five matches in 1956 at just 9.60 per wicket, including a match-haul of 19 wickets in the Old Trafford Test.

Hogg's tally was the best for Australia until seamer Terry Alderman captured 42 in the 1981 series.

Hogg, who played 38 Tests, said he was convinced Warne would better his previous series tallies of 34 wickets (1993), 24 (1997) and 31 (2001) in England because he would be bowling earlier in the innings and the series was being staged later in the year than usual.

He said the later start - the series begins on July 21 and ends in mid-September - would mean the Tests would be played at the height of summer, when the pitches were dry and more receptive to spin.

"Instead of him coming in when they're 5-70, he'll come on when they're only two or three wickets down," Hogg said.

"And he'll also do a lot of bowling in the second innings, so he could take 25 second-innings wickets."

Hogg said Flintoff, who is yet to play a Test against Australia, was vulnerable against quality leg-spin and was susceptible to Warne's stock delivery which drifts into a right-hander before spinning away.

"I think (Australian captain Ricky) Ponting should bring Warne on against Flintoff straight away, no matter what the score is, as soon as he walks through the gate," Hogg said.

"Flintoff has got the potential to be the next Cullinan ... really, he'll be absolutely shellshocked."

Warne is Test cricket's leading wicket-taker with 583 in 123 matches.

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