Some of the most exciting, exhilirating televised sport involving Englishmen and Ozzies is on today. No, no, no, not ‘the Ashes, but ‘Shane Warne’s bowling masterclass’, LIVE during the lunch break. Oh boy! Shane Warne, the Sheikh of Tweak, the, er, best wrist-spinner of all time, the American Pie-loving beach bum, is going to be giving a leg-spinning masterclass to two young English legspinners, Max Waller and Will Beer, both of whom played Twenty20 Finals Day. The Leading Edge is offering LIVE blogging for this momentous occasion (blogging the actual game is so cricinfo).
The anticipation is utterly murdering me, and it’s made that little bit sweeter because of the participation of Sussex’s own Will Beer, who, of course, is an amazing prospect. More importantly, will the mystique of leg spin finally be unravelled, live on TV? Hey, it could happen…
13:15 – Right, here we go, The Sheikh is here! I wonder how long it will take him to say ‘aw look, …’ at the beginning of a sentence. Love it. What’s his first piece of advice? ‘Spin the ball’. An example of an it’s-so-bleeding-obvious remark that even Nasser would have been proud of.
13:16 – ‘People say Kumble didn’t spin it, rubbish! He bowled overspin!’. A-ha, of course! Being honest though, all those style spinners – Kumble, Afridi, er, Piyush Chawla? Michael Atherton? – are so boring compared to the right-angle style spin of Warne etc. There, I said it. It’s just true.
13:18 – Oh poor Will Beer, has a go at bowling, lands it around 2 metres wide of off stump. It’s okay, he’s young.
13:20 – Warne’s top tip for young leg spinners trying to get practice? Spin the ball with your wrist whilst doing homework. Genius!
13:27 – It’s official: Will Beer has a googly and a slider. Winner.
Oops, I shouldn’t get too excited, Shane warns not to ‘get all too wrapped up in variations’. Sorry!
Generally though, what the actual duck is going on? Warne’s talking very fast about zooters, flippers, sliders, googlies, wrong ‘uns, wowzers, gazumpas, froompas, yagoos, whilst throwing and spinning the ball in the air in several hundred different ways at a great velocity and high speed. When combined with some very average camera work, it makes it seem unlikely that the art of legspin will be ‘unravelled’.
13:31 – Flipper, eh? For Nass, apparently its like a long hop, but then hit’s your pad! Poor Nass, he never really was good enough to pick the different in length between a long hop and a full ball was he? Bless ‘im.
For what it’s worth, bowling a flipper is like clicking your fingers, but a thousand times harder.
Can the kids do it? ‘Not bad’ chirps Warne, enthusiastically, but not all too convincing.
13:33 – 2 tracker from Waller – ‘Aw its alright, caught at midwicket’. Slightly optimistic?
13:36 – Suddenly it’s all over! Did The Learning Edge learn much? Erm, for a flipper you click your fingers, and that, er, it’s like, all really hard, and stuff. All a bit underwhelming.
And with Gower doing his best to dampen any excitement with his normal near-whispering dross, it’s back to the cricket. Over and out.