Australia news October 28, 2011

Warne's BBL decision expected next week

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Warne is expected to make a decision next week on which Big Bash League to play for, and Cricket Australia will contribute a marketing bonus to encourage him out of retirement. Warne said last month that he was "definitely going to play a few games" but he had not yet decided for which team, with his hometown sides the Melbourne Stars and the Renegades the likely options.

The Age reported that Cricket Australia was so keen to entice Warne, 42, to play that it would kick in a cash allowance on top of the salary cap, believed to be less than $50,000, to market the new eight-team BBL. Mike McKenna, CA's Big Bash project owner, told the paper Warne would be considered a terrific asset for the new tournament.

"We made that offer to all the teams of an amount of money in exchange for him doing things like making appearances for us," McKenna said. "He is an asset, he will excite people across the league not just the team he plays for. Coming out of retirement would make it extra special."

If Warne is keen to return to the MCG, the Stars would be his best option, and the team's CEO, Clint Cooper, said the organisation was doing everything it could to secure his services. The Docklands-based Renegades are Warne's other Melbourne option, and while teams in other cities would be keen to sign Warne, it is expected he would choose to play in Melbourne, where his children live.

Warne has not played elite cricket in Australia since he retired from Test cricket in January 2007, when Australia whitewashed Andrew Flintoff's England side in a memorable Ashes series. However, he has continued to play Twenty20 and retired from the IPL earlier this year.