The Ashes: Shane Warne tells Steve Smith to face 90mph rockets in the nets to rebuild confidence after Jofra Archer blow – The Sun
SHANE WARNE reckons Steve Smith will need to crank up the bowling machine to 90mph and face hundreds of bouncers to regain his confidence.
Being bombarded by hard balls at high speed might not sound the perfect cure for a man who suffered concussion last weekend, after a brutal blow to the neck.
But Aussie spin legend Warne believes several visits to the firing line in practice are essential for Smith to prepare for the next assault on his head from Jofra Archer — probably in the Fourth Test on September 4.
Even then, says Warne, Smith could have some negative thoughts when he next takes guard against the man who has become a fast-bowling sensation this summer.
Warne said: “Smith is a great player but it was a nasty blow. It will shake him up. He has a good technique, even though it’s a bit quirky, and he’s so strong mentally.
“He showed that with a century in each innings at Edgbaston in his first Test back after his suspension.
“So he’s tough and has good skills. But walking out in the middle, those first few deliveries, those first few moments, thoughts will be going through his head.
“I’m sure he’ll be fine as soon as he faces those first one or two short balls from Archer and ducks beneath them.
“In the next two weeks, he needs to have the bowling machine on 90mph and the guys throwing bouncers at him all the time. That’s the best way to practise.”
Warne was hit badly only once in his career, playing for Hampshire against Worcestershire in 2006, and admits it affected him.
He said: “It was a bowler called Matt Mason. He’s was a medium-pacer. I went to hook one, it skidded off the pitch and went straight through my grille. I couldn’t see out my right eye. Blood was dripping down my face and shirt.
“I think it was Graeme Hick and a couple of other guys who went, ‘Don’t move’.
“Then they reached in and grabbed the ball, it was stuck in the helmet grille. That’s why I couldn’t see!
“I still have a scar and it did shake me up and took me a couple of games to get back into it. I was a bit ball-shy for a few games.”
Warne was yesterday coaching youngsters at the Rajasthan Royals Academy, based at Reed’s School in Surrey, where the cricket professional is former England spinner and Surrey coach Keith Medlycott.
Warne — one of the five greatest cricketers of all time — is inspirational, patient, charismatic and fun with the kids. He has been captain, coach and mentor for the Royals and is now an ambassador.
By chance, four of the biggest figures in The Ashes — Smith, Archer, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler — all played for the franchise in the IPL this year.
Warne added: “Jofra is great for the game. Two things we like to see most in international cricket are a fast bowler trying to bowl rapid and somebody taking him on by hooking or ducking and weaving.
“The other is a batsman using his feet to a good spinner and hitting him for six. They are the two battles we love. Jofra can be a real draw card for international cricket and more superstars like him will attract more boys and girls to playing.
“I got to know Jofra a bit at the Royals. He is super laid-back, very casual. And he learns quickly, too.
“He’s so much natural talent and a great attitude. He’s fantastic for the game. He’ll be around for a while.
“We’ve seen him at the Royals for the last couple of years, bowl well and bowl quickly. Some of the stuff you see in the nets, you go, ‘Jesus, that’s proper pace’.
“Most of the great fast bowlers when I played like Brett Lee, Waqar Younis, Allan Donald, Shoaib Akhtar, Curtly Ambrose, Shaun Tait, they ran in a long way to establish their rhythm and generate pace.<div>
“With Jofra, it’s so easy. He runs in like a medium-pacer, just jogs in. He has a great wrist position, bowls over his front leg nicely and generates extreme pace.
“He bowls close to the stumps and the ball nips back in. So, even if you are trying to sway out the way, he follows you. Generally, he’s right on the money. He’s exceptional, he’s going to be a superstar.
“The hardest thing for England is not to over-bowl him. There are back-to-back Tests, lots of cricket.
“You want him to bowl fast whenever he bowls. One good thing is that his body is good and supple, he’s an athlete.
“Smith is a huge loss for Australia. England fans must feel like if you get Smith out, you rock and roll all through Australia.
“So now there’s a bit of pressure on David Warner to step up as the experienced player.”
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