Heat captain claims Warne's still hot on the cricket pitch
AT 43, champion leg spinner Shane Warne has still got it, says Brisbane Heat captain and all-rounder James Hopes.
Warne's table-topping Melbourne Stars will take on the Heat at the Gabba tonight, with the sixth-placed hosts needing a win to stay in finals contention.
There has been some conjecture on whether Warne will play this game after celebrating Christmas and the New Year with glamour fiancee Elizabeth Hurley in the UK.
But Warne is expected to talk to reporters this morning and signal his availability, and the fans have responded, with Heat officials predicting a crowd of about 18,000.
"We'll be looking to take advantage of whatever way he comes back, but he's been around a while," Hopes said after being asked about the likelihood of playing a hungover and jet-lagged Warne.
Hopes said his batsmen had made plans for both Warne and left-arm orthodox spinner Clive Rose.
"Even that first game against the Renegades - the first over he (Warne) bowled against Finchy (Aaron Finch), that was more very good batting apart from bad bowling," Finch said.
"He bowled a couple of poor balls in the second and third over, but other than that he's just been normal Shane Warne."
Hopes also said his batsmen had also looked closely at Stars paceman Lasith Malinga, who he believed was one of the best Twenty20 bowlers in the world.
"Playing in the IPL and with the Indians, their key is to get your left leg well out of the road," he said.
"This takes the LBW out of the equation.
"When he bowled well against the Scorchers, he took 6-7, but there were some interesting shots played."
For the Stars, English batsman Luke Wright should play after hamstring soreness kept him on the sidelines in his side's eight-run win over the Strikers last Thursday night.