Warne in talks over one-day comeback
John Buchanan, Australia's coach, has said that Shane Warne has spoken with him, Ricky Ponting and the selectors about a possible return to one-day cricket ahead of the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.
Buchanan asked Warne to decide at the earliest. "Ricky, myself and Andrew Hilditch [chairman of selectors] have all had discussions with Shane about the World Cup," Buchanan told The Sun-Herald. "There needs to be commitment or otherwise from him. Either he makes himself available in terms of the team moving forward with its plans, or not. And then the selectors will have some decisions on their plate from there. Shane spoke to us in South Africa, and then again in Bangladesh.
"There are a lot of considerations for him, mainly in terms of the longevity of his career. He needs to come to a conclusion. With the contract meetings coming up, I imagine it will be one of the topics for discussion."
Warne had undergone arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder after dislocating it during a VB series match against England in December 2002 and intended to retire from one-dayers, to focus on Tests, after the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. "Having suffered a second major injury to my right shoulder has made me think about what I can do to prolong my playing career, particularly in Test cricket," said Warne. "My number one priority after the World Cup is playing Test cricket for Australia and I will not be doing anything to jeopardise that." But Warne's World Cup plans vanished after he failed a drugs test before the tournament and was handed a one-year ban.
With Glenn McGrath missing because his wife is battling cancer, Brett Lee led an inexperienced Australian attack that included Nathan Bracken (38 ODIs), Dan Cullen (3 ODIs), Mitchell Johnson (5 ODIs), Brett Dorey (4 ODIs) and James Hopes (9 ODIs) on the tour of Bangladesh. If Warne were to return, he would be invaluable to Australia's World Cup campaign. He played a crucial role in Australia's 1999 World Cup victory with Man of the Match-winning efforts of 4 for 29 and 4 for 33 in the semi-final and final.
Australia's next one-day tournament is the Champion's Trophy in India for which they intend to play their best side. "We're pretty sure about a core group of people now," said Buchanan. "Things have moved forward. We've been able to see what depth we have with some changes in the team, forced or otherwise. A fair bit of planning and thinking will be done during this break period. The next tournament will be the beginning, if you like, of the competitive phase leading into the World Cup."