Australia news December 4, 2012

Warne strains for spotlight … again

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Warne's sympathy for his close friend Michael Clarke - and fervent desire to remain in the spotlight - has extended far enough for the former Australian legspinner to present an outlandish scenario by which he would return to the Test team for next year's dual Ashes series.

Watching Clarke look powerless for just about the first time as Australian captain as Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith battered a wayward bowling attack to all parts of the WACA ground during the third Test, Warne said he felt a strong urge to help out. This time, Warne said, the desire to aid Clarke went beyond the regular advice he shares with his former team-mate around Test matches.

"I felt like I wanted to jump off the couch and grab the ball," Warne told News Ltd. "I really felt for Michael Clarke from a captaincy point of view. When you've got international bowlers bowling one or two full-tosses an over and half-volleys, I felt for Pup, I really felt for him."

While the scenario is highly improbable, if not laughable, Warne said a suitable persuasive phone call from Clarke would be enough for him to forego the "Shane Warne inc." of his life since retirement in order to play for Australia again. Warne even suggested he would be happy to return through grade cricket and earn his way with wickets for club and state before a Test recall could be considered.

"If your best friend says, 'Mate, I want you to seriously consider making a commitment to Australian cricket and coming back out of retirement', (to) make myself available for selection, that's a different scenario,'' Warne said. "Especially with back-to-back Ashes coming up next year, it could be a 12-month thing where you take three spinners with you and say, 'Righto, work with these spinners and see how you go for 12 months.' That's a different kettle of fish.

"I'm definitely not asking for Michael Clarke to come out and say that - that's a different scenario. You asked me if I think I could still play international cricket if I wanted to just turn up, do my bowling and if the first Test match was in three weeks, do you think I could play, (then) I'd have no hesitation in saying yes - and I think I'd do pretty well."

Presenting a fitter figure at the age of 43 than he did during most of his playing days, Warne argued the major obstacle to his return was not his bowling capability but the demands he now has on his time. He is set to captain the Melbourne Stars in this summer's BBL, and has bowled presentably for the team in their warm-up matches this week.

"From a purely bowling perspective, I don't think my form would be the concern, it's just the time and actually making that commitment again," Warne said. "My kids are turning 16, 14 and 12 next year and we're juggling two continents, Elizabeth [Hurley's] work and my work commitments. There's travel, sponsors, businesses, there are charities, so much stuff that I'd basically have to put it all on hold to make a commitment to international cricket.

"That's the reason I haven't for a while said I'm gonna make a comeback. For me it's not a matter of whether I could do it or not - I have absolutely no doubt if I wanted to commit to try to make a comeback and go through grade cricket, first-class cricket and try to get selected ... that I could do it."

While supportive of Clarke, Warne's words cannot be of much succour for Nathan Lyon, Australia's undisputed No. 1 spin bowler, who was the team's leading wicket-taker against South Africa while becoming the youngest Australian offspinner to reach 50 Test wickets.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aneep on December 5, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    I would grab at the opportunity to select Warne but knowing CA policy I doubt very much if they would .. but who knows, if he is fit and able, it would make an interesting ashes ..

  • sea on December 5, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    i see lot mixed emotions about his coming back, i say CA has to consider it for next 12 months min rather than running town boy spinners in to support the team, age is not matter as he can play grade cricket and earn his spot, if any body better than him then let that guy play, if not warnee to play. because it is for global cricket including ASIA, see him let good spinners come in, except styne and for some extend anderson, tell me one bowler who earns respect, some few young guys comming up and grooming but no body there to inspire young boys all over world....... we see in life abdul quader, saqline, kumble, murali, and shane for spin, for fast, we see akram, ambrose, donald, waqar, mc grath, lee etc etc.. so let the world see him agian for some body

  • KISH on December 5, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    I can see a lot of confidence in those words. However, I don't think it is ever going to happen. Australian selectors are never going to be that desperate to select a 43-year old retired bowler so that they can have a formidable bowling line-up. We have a factory of fast bowlers and some decent spin bowlers. That will be enough to trouble any kind of batting line-up. Australia only lost the series to South Africa because of the superior batting strenghth that the porteas had. Also, DRS also made sure that the shocking decisions can not affect the results of the matches and the series. Australian batsmen approached the final innings of the perth test without any confidence. You may be 600 odd runs behind. However, if South Africans can score 590 in their second innings, why not Australians score more? Records are meant to be broken some day and they should have approached it with confidence.

  • Robert on December 5, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    Hah, as ridiculous as this is, I would love to see him return to test cricket. Lyon isn't necessarily the weak component of the Aussie team, but I'm sure Warne would bowl better then him.

  • Graham on December 5, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    Shane Warne I feel you have overstepped the line, you have been out of the game for 4 years and make a one-time offer to play the Ashes. How will Australias current spinners take your comments. You know the Australian public loves you, because you were a great cricketer but now the focus when Nathon Lyon plays his next test is again going on to you. It is the next generations time and one that you slip out of the spot light to help ease the pressure. You have retired now let it go.

  • sea on December 5, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    he was really short of two years of his career due to ban and injuries as well. one more chance can make up for that, and even not as a great spinner like earlier but just as new comer or common grade spinner, warnee is much better than any one at the moment, so please make it happen to see you again in whites.

  • Peter on December 5, 2012, 8:13 GMT

    He'd need to put on weight first. A skinny and fit Warne in whites just wouldn't look the same!

  • Gary on December 5, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Unless he's planning to take up fast bowling there's no point.

    If Warne really wanted to help, he'd already be teaching the next generation instead of threatening to take away their jobs. I suspect his real problem is he hasn't been in the headlines for more than a month now and needed to remedy that terrible situation at once.

  • Dummy4 on December 5, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    Shane warne sir, please return to test cricket! Nothing is impossible!

  • Pradeep on December 5, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    Hi shane, please allow Muralidharan to retire in peace.

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