'It's caught everyone by surprise' - Border December 20, 2006

Former players shocked Warne could be going

Cricinfo staff

Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath would be choosing the right moment to leave if the Sydney Test was their last, according to Ian Chappell © Getty Images

Reports that Shane Warne will announce his retirement on Thursday have caught the cricket world off guard. While there has been no official confirmation that Warne will step down, Australia is buzzing with the news that Warne, and maybe Glenn McGrath, will make the Sydney Test their last.

"I haven't heard anything official yet from Cricket Australia and people have been ringing me non-stop," David Boon, an Australia selector, told AAP. "I don't know when he's proposing to do it officially or whether it's just rumour. I don't know."

John Buchanan, the Australia coach, said he was not commenting "at this stage". Ian Healy said he would not say anything until the announcement was official, but he said it was hard to believe that Warne could be so close to leaving the game.

Allan Border, who captained Warne for several years, said on Fox Sports that Warne was in superb form and did not need to retire. "It's just caught everyone by surprise," Border said. "I just got the inkling that he was even considering one more tilt at England in England and that would see him out. I suppose there's a lot of innuendo about what the reasons are ... I'm in a bit of a state of shock."

Border said Warne would be remembered as one of the all-time greats. "Bradman - it's hard to make comparison with that guy's record, but on the next level of cricketers, Warne is right there," Border said. "He's been a breath of fresh air, what he's brought to the game is immeasurable."

Ian Chappell said both Warne and McGrath would be choosing the ideal moment to retire if the Sydney Test was their last. "I'm delighted for both of them that they are calling it a day at the end of this series," Chappell said. "I think it's perfect timing for a champion player ... if you make a mistake it's best to get out a little early than a little late."