Monday, May 19, 2008

Shane Warne considering a comeback

JUST 16 months after retiring from Test cricket, Shane Warne last night dramatically opened the door for a comeback.

Australia's greatest leg-spinner said that if circumstances were right, he would consider returning against arch-enemy England in next year's Ashes series.

"If Australia really needed me and there was no one else around, and Ricky thought I could do the job, you would weigh up the options," said Warne, who will turn 40 during the Ashes series.

Warne has worked miracles leading the Rajasthan Royals to the top of the Indian Premier League table, mesmerising batsmen with the leg-spin that collected 708 wickets in 145 Tests.
Warne, who retired from Test cricket after Australia won the Ashes in January 2007, said he would return should injury again cut down Stuart MacGill.
"If Stuey MacGill fell over and broke his leg, and there were no other spinners around, and Ricky came out and said, `Mate, can you please help us out for this one-off tour? We need you', that is something I would weigh up," he said.
Earlier, the Australian skipper praised Warne's performance in the Indian Premier League, where he has taken 14 wickets at 18.78 runs.
Ponting said while Warne was bowling as well as ever, he doubted the leg-spin king was interested in a comeback.
But Warne told the Herald Sun he would return if called upon by his country.
"If I wanted to keep playing I don't think there would be an issue with me being the No. 1 spinner and performing," he said.
"I would still love to be playing international cricket, and miss it because I devoted 20 years to first-class cricket. It is a big part of my life," he said.
"The reason I retired was to spend time with my kids. I was also sick of international touring here there and everywhere, other commitments, and team meetings.
"If you could just turn up and play Test cricket, that would be cool. I would definitely consider that. At this stage, it is a fairytale."
Warne believes his work with young Aussie spinners and state skippers last season should negate the need for him to again terrorise the English.
"Hopefully over the coming years we can produce a few options for the selectors and Ricky to choose from," he said.
"I also believe in Stuart MacGill."
Ponting has backed MacGill, fresh from taking 4-79 and 3-50 in a tour match against a Jamaican XI in the West Indies, as Australia's probable 2009 Ashes spinner.
Despite MacGill's injury history, Ponting has given the 37-year-old the green light to continue through to the Ashes.
"If his body stays right there is no doubt that he is the best wicket-taking spinner in Australia," Ponting said.
"So if he keeps himself fit and has the desire and passion to keep playing cricket, then I'm pretty sure he would be good enough to get the Ashes job done."
After having hand surgery and resting his wonky knee, MacGill has returned to action looking much slimmer and sharper than the man who struggled terribly at the start of last summer.
He bowled with penetration and pizzazz on a spinning pitch in the tour match in Trelawny, using his big-turning leg-break as his primary wicket-taking ball.
His performance helped to ease any doubts that he might not rediscover his form of old.
Ponting is enthusiastic about how MacGill has returned and has forecast he will be a dangerous weapon in this week's first Test against the West Indies, and then against India later this year.
"Full credit to him. He looks a lot fitter and has obviously lost a lot of weight," he said.


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