In Brief

Legend Shane Warne returns to help Aussies during Ashes

England's nemesis has agreed to give new Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann a hand this summer

ENGLAND'S cricketing nemesis Shane Warne (above) has agreed to help Australia in their quest to regain the Ashes this summer after his old teammate Darren Lehmann was appointed coach.

Leg-spinner Warne, who now works as a media pundit, terrorised England during Australia's years of domination in the 1990s and 2000s, and took 195 Ashes wickets at an average of 23. Now he will pass on his wisdom to the current crop of Aussies, who have been branded as no-hopers in some quarters.

Warne says he does not want an official role with the Australian team but, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said he was flattered to have been invited into the camp by Lehmann and captain Michael Clarke.

"I am always there to help any Australian cricketer and always have been," he said. "If I need to be around at practice to have a chat with boys about tactical stuff or bowling then I will do that. It's good to be part of the set-up but most of time my role will be informal, catching up on the phone or chatting over a drink or meal. I do not need a fancy job title to help out."

He described Lehmann, who has taken over from the sacked Mickey Arthur, as a "mentor" and said the emphasis would now be on cricket rather than what he called the "horse-crap" of sports science.

"There will be none of the airy fairy stuff," he declared. "It is back to old-school preparation with the focus being on fun."

Warne, who was known for his combative approach on the field, promised that Australia would take the game to England this summer. "If Australia lose then they will go down swinging, and being competitive with aggression and intensity."

The Sydney Morning Herald notes that Warne's decision comes 20 years after he introduced himself to English cricket fans with the 'ball of the century', his first ball in an Ashes Test, a wicked leg-break that bowled a bemused Mike Gatting.

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