Ex-Oz spinners may launch 'idol-type series' to unearth new spin talent

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Brisbane (Australia), Dec.11 (ANI): Former Australian spinners, including Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill, Ashley Mallett, Terry Jenner and head Center Of Excellence (COE) coach Greg Chappell have in principle accepted a suggestion to launch an Australian Idol-type series to unearth new spin stars.

Under the proposed series, young spin hopefuls could audition before the cameras and be assessed by former slow-bowling stars.

"It was made along with a lot of other suggestions at the strategy meeting and is not central to our strategy," said Centre of Excellence chief executive Belinda Clark who is preparing a paper on the future of Australian spin bowling.

Though Clark did not include the Idol idea in her recommendations, leading media buyer Ian Warner from Universal McCann feels such a project would be a winner.

"I reckon it would work. Cricket is very popular and this time of year a lot of people would watch it. There is a precedent because soccer has done something like it and it has gone well. Channel Nine would be the best chance of the free-to-air stations, but I reckon it would be a big chance of being picked up by pay television. It would have to be commercially viable but I reckon you would be a good chance of picking up a big sponsor," Warner said.

But Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young last night was fearful the suggestion would create the wrong impression about Australia's spin-bowling plans.

"It was raised but it is not part of our strategy," said Young, who claimed CA had full confidence in its development programs.

"I don't want to create the impression we are using reality television to identify the next Shane Warne," Fox Sports quoted him, as saying.

Chappell said that he is open to left-field suggestions to preserve Australia's proud tradition of spin bowling.

"I have always thought at some stage, we should do a run around the country, have a day in each state and have a look at who is interested," Chappell said.

"Our system covers emerging talent pretty well, but you just never know," he added.

"You might have a fast bowler turn up and realise he is actually a better spinner. Anil Kumble started out as a medium-pace bowler then realised he wasn't going very far and switched to leg-spin - 619 Test wickets later he had a great career," says Chappell. (ANI)

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