The retirement statement December 21, 2006

Warne in his own words

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Warne: "My ride in international cricket has been phenomenal" © Getty Images

It's been an interesting few days since the Perth Test match, trying to work out what the Ashes urn actually means. Since 2005 it's been an amazing thought process for a lot of us to think about what actually happened to try and get the urn and those Ashes back.

For me it was a mission to try and get that urn back and today I sit here a very happy man at getting that urn back and I'm going to announce my retirement from international cricket, domestic cricket for Victoria and St Kilda as well. It's been unbelievable. I think my journey and my ride in international cricket has been phenomenal.

I don't think I could have written my script any better. It's been an amazing journey, an unbelievable ride. There's so many people to thank. Today I thought I'd be sad. A lot of people said "you'll know when your time's up, you'll know when your time's right". And I sort of doubted that, I didn't really understand what they meant, and I sit here in front of you today and I know exactly what they mean.

I couldn't have asked for things to go any better. The script leading up to these last two Test matches - I'm going to retire at the end of the Sydney Test match - the reason for doing it that way, I wasn't going to do anything ahead of the team. The team always came first and once the urn was back then it was going to be time to announce the retirement.

If that had to wait until the end of the Sydney Test match then it would be then. But as it's worked out, the script's been written, three-nil, we've got the urn back from Perth. [It's a] good opportunity to play out here at the MCG in front of my family and friends who I've grown up with and spent a lot of time with and then to Sydney where it all started. Sixteen cricket seasons ago - or nearly 20-odd years of first-class cricket ago - it started in Sydney and it's still my proudest moment, playing my first Test match.

It's an amazing feeling, so to have that opportunity to walk off in Sydney, where it all began a long time ago, where the ride began, then I think that's a great opportunity and something to celebrate with the team.

I sit here today with every single trophy available in international cricket in the Cricket Australia offices. So I think as a player I like to think I've played my part in helping those trophies getting to Cricket Australia. I sit here today a very happy man, it's been on my chest for a while. I probably would have retired at the end of 2005 Ashes series if we had've won but it wasn't to be.

My life has been unbelievable, to be honest. Cricket is a statistic-based game but it's not about statistics and money and financial and those types of things. For me if it was about that sort of stuff I would keep playing because I feel like I'm still bowling well enough to keep playing. It's about knowing the right time and I'd like to go out on top. I think I'm going out on my terms - I'd like to think I've earned that right to go out on my terms. But it's a day of celebration, celebrating a wonderful ride.