Warne Down, Three To Go

Philip Hughes is his natural successor – the same Philip Hughes who proved himself incapable of playing short-pitched bowling in England last summer and was promptly ditched after two Test matches. I’m sure Straussy and the lads will struggle to sleep if he gets the nod for the third Test in Perth.  Mark Cameron or the livewire Trent Copeland could replace paceman Doug ‘The Rug’ Bollinger, but it’s in the spinning department that the Aussies look about as threatening as a shopmobility-bound bank robber who’s brandishing nothing more than an umbrella and a gummy smile. You’d think, having produced the finest cricketer of all time in Shane Warne, that there’d be a succession of leggies eager to follow in the great man’s footsteps. Is there ‘eckers like. Cameron White is the best they’ve got, and he’s taken just a handful of wickets at a mere 68 runs apiece in his four Tests to date.  There appears to be only one – admittedly bold – solution to the Aussies’ current malaise, and that is to bite the bullet and send out an SOS to Warne himself. Whatever he demands – whether it’s obscene money, the captaincy, a new hairpiece, a box of diuretics, whatever – just give him what he wants and he might just revive a nation that’s already grown tired and embarrassed of this whole sorry series. He’ll certainly make Cricket Australia a few bob in ticket sales, which have been on the wane since England turned the first Test around after a sluggish start. Yes, he’s now 41 years of age and true, he hasn’t bowled a ball for eight months, but is there anyone else who can rescue this shambles of a team? Well, yes there is… if I were Greg Chappell, I’d be telling my fellow selectors to give Brett Lee a buzz to persuade him to come out of retirement for a three-match run-out. And while they’re at it, maybe they should check on the fitness – both mental and physical – of Shaun Tait. He might be wild, but when he gets it right, he could have a lot of fun trying to push the speed gun beyond the three-figure mark.
When England found themselves in similar dire straits to the Aussies in previous series back in the dark days of the 90s, their default mechanism was to call on an old stager – a Gooch, a Gatting, an Emburey, or all three. It never once reaped rewards, but, and this is a big but, there’s never been a cricketing genius like Warne and there probably never will be again. Mind you, if Warney can pull this one off, then we’ll have to stop insulting him with words like miraculous.

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