MELBOURNE, 29 APRIL: Shane Warne (in photo) has tipped India and Pakistan as the favourites to win the third edition of the Twenty20 World Cup starting in the West Indies tomorrow.
“India because their players play so much in the Indian Premier League. And Pakistan because the format suits them. But Australia are playing more of it and understanding the game a lot better,” Warne said.
“MS Dhoni is a very good captain but Virender Sehwag is a massive loss with his shoulder problem. Shahid Afridi is a good captain and a very good cricketer but can be hit and miss. They will be in the mix,” Warne told the Herald Sun.
Dhoni also figured in Warne's list of best five Twenty20 cricketers, which also had Shane Watson, Kevin Pietersen, Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard and a fit Sehwag.
Warne said captaincy and tactics would play a big role and if Michael Clarke could rise to the occasion, Australia too would have a chance to win the Twenty20 World Cup. “Yes (Australia can win), because there is no obvious standout team and the nature of Twenty20 cricket is that most teams will have a chance. It will probably come down to captaincy and tactics,” Warne said.
“We have spoken a lot about what is required in Twenty20 and Michael has captained very well recently. He has to put his stamp on the team,” he said.
Warne said Clarke needed to get his combination right and find out the strength of his team. “You have to identify your strengths as a team. For instance, at the Rajasthan Royals, we have never lost after batting first and making 145 or more.
So Michael has to get his batting order right and decide if we are a bat-first or bowl-first team. Do we have the batting? With David Warner and Shane Watson opening, Clarke at three, Cameron White, Mike and David Hussey, plus Tim Paine as a floater, then Mitchell Johnson and Steven Smith at seven and eight, that sounds all right to me,” he said.
The Australian also had a survival plan for all the three formats of the game.
“One-dayers should be like the Olympics, played just at the World Cup every four years. A World Cup for Twenty20 every two years and a Test championship once a year with a final between the two top-ranked teams,” Warne said.
‘Lee can come back’
Brett Lee is “gutted” by his latest injury, which ruled him out of the Twenty20 World Cup, but it is unlikely to end his international career, Cricket Australia's physiotherapist has said. Lee suffered a right-arm muscle strain during Australia's loss to Zimbabwe on Tuesday in a warm-up match but the team physiotherapist, Mr Alex Kountouris, said the injury was unrelated to the career-threatening surgery on the same arm last year that had precipitated his retirement from Test cricket.
A dejected Lee, replaced by Ryan Harris in the Australian squad, flew out of St Lucia and would consult a specialist in Sydney. “He was very disappointed ~ gutted. In the last 12 months he has hardly played and has had four different injuries. He had ankle surgery early last year, he had that side strain in England, and then he got that elbow injury after that. One is sort of a consequence of another,” Mr Kountouris said. He said Lee could be back to bowling within five weeks, opening the2 door for him to play for Australia on their one-day series tour of England in June. “It's serious enough to send him home, but I think as a long-term injury it shouldn't be that serious. It's basically a strain on his forearm muscle just on the inside of his elbow. His long-term future is not the problem, he is going to miss this tournament, which is a big tournament,” Mr Kountouris was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun.
India and Pakistan favourites: Warne