Melbourne:Desperate to find a successor for the legendary Shane Warne, cricket authorities Down Under have discussed the idea of launching a nationwide hunt on the lines of musical reality show 'Australian Idol' to unearth the country's next star tweaker.
According to a report in 'The Daily Telegraph', Warne, his mentor Terry Jenner and fellow former spinners Stuart MacGill and Ashley Mallett met in Brisbane to discuss the concept with Australian cricket's Centre of Excellence coach Greg Chappell.
"It was made along with a lot of other suggestions at the meeting and is not central to our strategy," said Centre of Excellence chief executive Belinda Clark.
Leading media buyer Ian Warner from Universal McCann feels such a project would be a smash-hit with the fans and might just end up finding the next Aussie spin sensation. "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," Warner said.
"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," he added.
But Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young played down the idea and said it has merely been discussed and not included as part of CA's strategy.
"It was raised but it is not part of our strategy. I don't want to create the impression we are using reality television to identify the next Shane Warne," he said.
Chappell said it wasn't such an outlandish concept and a reality show might throw up the person who can fill the huge void left by Warne.
"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. Our system covers emerging talent pretty well, but you just never know," Chappell said.
"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.
"Spin bowling has been a big part of Australia's past and we want it to be a big part of its future," he added.