Shane Warne has told English TV that he thinks England will start favourite in this summer’s Ashes series. This was after he obviously hoped to better the odds on the Poms by bowling off a standing start and throwing the ball more or less up in the air, during the last day of the County Championship.

If Warne sticks with that new bowling style this summer, England looks a lot more likely to hold onto the little urn.

In fact, Warne, captain of Hampshire, was simply annoyed with the negative batting tactics of Lancashire, which was assured of second place in the championship, behind Sussex, but refused to risk a defeat by declaring.

When the Lancashire batsmen continued to stonewall Hampshire’s attack after lunch, Warney started bowling bouncers then resorted to his stand-and-deliver lobs.

“It got to the stage where they were 430 ahead with 60 overs left and still didn’t declare, it was ridiculous,” Warne told reporters. “I started throwing lob-ups to see if they wanted any more runs, but that didn’t work. We did everything we could to get a game, but I was disappointed for the crowd.”

For his part, Lancashire captain Mark Chilton said it was all the Australian’s fault. “After lunch there was a window of opportunity in which we could, and should have perhaps, declared, but after Hampshire started throwing the ball 20 feet in the air we decided it would be inappropriate,” he sniffed.

So that was a mature, sporting end to the English county competition then.

Despite all of this, Warney was in a good mood, telling Sky Sports that England deserved to start favourite, having beaten the Australians last time around. He added that the best team would win, which proves all that media training wasn’t wasted.

Peter Fray

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