|Location: Edgbaston Dated: friday 23 july Time: 3:00 p.m. BST (women) and 6:30 p.m. (men)|
|Blanket: Live BBC Radio 5 live radio commentary on live sports and text commentary with clips and analysis on the BBC Sport website and app.|
The Hundred continues on Friday and with it comes a big pile of stardust.
The legendary former Australian spinner Shane Warne comes into the limelight as the men’s coach of London Spirit, which begins its campaign against Birmingham Phoenix at Edgbaston.
Warne is known as one of the greatest bowlers in history, blessed with one of the sharpest cricket brains on the market, and is now stepping up his first real coaching role.
He does so through an intriguing partnership with Spirit captain Eoin Morgan, the man who revolutionized English cricket as the men’s World Cup-winning captain.
“Expect the unexpected,” Warne told BBC Sport.
“Expect different things, but expect some entertaining cricket from London Spirit for sure.”
Warne’s only coaching experience dates back to 2008, when he led the Rajasthan Royals to the Indian Premier League title while captaining the team, long before she became the machine full of superstars that she is today.
“There won’t be any hair dryer treatments in public, but there might be a few behind the scenes for sure,” the 51-year-old laughed, before adding to hastily the words “I hope this is not necessary!”
A partnership between Warne and Morgan looks set to attack cricket.
Warne, often described as the best captain Australia has ever had, is one of the most aggressive players to ever play the game – just ask any English hitter from the ’90s or early days. from the 2000s.
While Morgan spent a recent time in Covid-19 isolation, Warne was on the other end of the phone as the pair charted their course to success.
“He doesn’t like team meetings and doesn’t like those silly ladders in warm-ups,” Warne said.
“We’re both on the right track there.
“We went through scenarios – good and bad – asking him his opinion on certain situations and if he had thought of this or that.
“It’s my job to challenge.
“I will give them [the players] options, what I think I would and suggestions, but at the end of the day, they’ll make the last call. “
And the new format of cricket offers plenty of opportunities for tactics to come to the fore.
The sleeves are shorter while the ability for bowlers to throw 10 balls in a row adds a new dimension.
“Someone could throw 20 of 25 balls on the power play,” Warne said. “Someone could throw 20 out of 25 balls at the end.
“When there isn’t much between the teams, it can depend on your thinking and the right pitches.
“We have the best white ball captain in world cricket so we have an advantage there.
“I hope I can help with some of the tactical things and try to inspire them to play well.”
Warne has pushed back further attempts to get more details on these tactical plans, but has released a teaser.
“Just watch out for Mr. Nabi,” Warne said of Spirit’s Afghan international multi-talent, Mohammad Nabi. “He might play a different role than people expect.”
At 36, Nabi, primarily a middle-order hitter who plays off-spin, is one of many senior players on a team that Warne admits to having gone “under the radar.”
They will be hurt by the loss of Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence and Mark Wood to England after two games, but have Morgan, Pakistani fast pitcher Mohammad Amir, as well as former England internationals Joe Denly, Ravi Bopara and Jade Dernbach.
At the other end of the scale is Blake Cullen, a 19-year-old Middlesex bowler, one of England’s most exciting young talents. Keep an eye out for Australian Josh Inglis, this year’s T20 Blast top scorer to date.
“We’re in pretty good shape,” Warne said.
“Everyone has a good team. It will depend on execution, strategy and tactics and sometimes making the right decisions at the right time.”
Could this be where Spirit would have a big advantage?