Legspinner plans summer-only Australia trips March 14, 2005

Warne now calls England home

Cricinfo staff

Warne may be relocating to England, but he is also chasing 700 wickets after Hamish Marshall become his 1000th first-class victim © Getty Images

England can finally claim a world-champion legspinner after Shane Warne announced he would base himself there when not playing in Australia. Warne plans to move to Hampshire, where he has a four-year county contract, within weeks and will return Down Under only in summer.

"At the moment, it's home and down the track it will probably be home for the family as well," Warne told the Courier-Mail. "I'll live over there and base myself there and come back and play my stuff for Australia and head back. I'm only in Australia for a couple of months each year."

Warne, who claimed his 1000th first-class wicket in taking 5 for 39 against New Zealand yesterday, has recently renovated his mansion in the Melbourne suburb Brighton, but he has bought a house and a car in the Hampshire city of Southampton. The lure of off-season commentary work in England, an escape from the intense local media glare and his wife Simone's love of Spain were also seen as considerations for the move.

"I like it over there, my family enjoy going to Spain and it's only a couple of hours on the plane, so they enjoy that side of things," he told The Australian. "My wife would love to live in Spain tomorrow, it's a bit hard when you're playing for Australia."

Now 35, Warne said he could end his career at Hampshire, but he has also re-set his Test goals to take 700 wickets and is currently on 573. "If I can keep playing for another couple of years it might be a chance, but it won't be the main reason to keep going," Warne said. "When I stop enjoying it I'll stop playing. When little things come along, like today when I got my 1000th first-class wicket, you give yourself a little pat on the back. It was a pretty big achievement."

Warne, who first played for the county in 2000, has signed a two-year deal as Hampshire's captain with the option to double the length, and Cricket Australia was not concerned where he lived as long as he completed his contractual obligations. "I'm looking forward and that's showing some commitment to Hampshire," he said. "I enjoy captaining the side. We had a very successful year there last year. Who knows? I might finish up my playing days down there at Hampshire as well."