It will conflict with his Hampshire commitments August 11, 2006

Warne lukewarm to Buchanan's 'boot' camp

AFP



Where will Shane Warne be? At Hampshire or at the Australian 'boot' camp? © Getty Images

Shane Warne has queried the timing of the Australian team's pre-Ashes training camp in outback Queensland later this month which conflicts with his commitments with Hampshire.

Warne has reluctantly agreed to return home from England for the three-day "boot" camp, devised by John Buchanan, the national coach, ahead of the Ashes series against England in November. But Warne indicated he was not keen on returning to Australia this month while Hampshire is in the running for the English County Championship.

"The Ashes will not start until November 23, it is three months away until the Ashes start so it is early, very early for a camp, but that is what John wants to do," Warne told Channel Nine. "I think it is one of John Buchanan's wonderful, mastermind things that keeps everyone stumped ... and, well, who knows, we all have to be there."

Australia's campaign to regain the Ashes, which they lost to England last year, gets underway in Brisbane on November 23 but before that the national one-day side, without Warne, is set to play a tournament in Malaysia and Singapore next month before the Champions Trophy in India. The training camp will be the first time the Australian team has been together since April's tour of Bangladesh.

Warne told The Guardian newspaper in London this week that he was likely to miss two of his county team's remaining five first division matches if he attended the camp. But Cricket Australia wanted all contracted players to be at the camp, which would force Warne to miss Hampshire's matches against fifth-placed Warwickshire and second-placed Sussex.

Warne, leading Hampshire's bid for a first championship title in 33 years, wanted to be back in England to face Sussex on August 31. "Realistically, I'm asking that I can be released early and get back for Sussex," Warne told The Guardian. "Of the two it's preferable that I miss Warwickshire."

Buchanan hopes the camp will help Australian squad members shut out the distractions that put them off their game in England last year. The details of the outback training camp are secret but Buchanan said it was the first chance since he took over as coach in 1999 for all 25 contracted players to come together for a substantial bonding session because of the rare, extended break between overseas tours.

"The underlying philosophy is about taking all of us outside our comfort zone and then seeing how we respond to that, individually and collectively," he said. "The means to get there is secretive and that's where it remains."