The Ashes 2010-11 December 8, 2010

Shane Warne flattered by comeback talk

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Warne has said he is "flattered" at all the talk of a possible comeback to help Australia's struggling bowling attack and stopped short of completely ruling out a return even though it would be a huge admission of the team's current failings.

Warne has arrived in London on a promotional trip for his new chat show and was greeted at Heathrow Airport by photographers and reporters who were only interested in one topic. "Just landed in London it's freezing and was welcomed by press and photographers asking am I making a comeback? What have I missed ?," he posted on his Twitter feed.

Earlier, his Daily Telegraph column made a brief mention of the debate in Australia, which has led the creation of a fund and a website - bringbackwarne.com - that is aiming to raise enough money to bring Warne out of retirement. "We offer the Rescue Fund to the King of Spin," the website says, "pleading with him once again to don the baggy green and attempt us to win back the Ashes."

"There has been a bit written in Australia and people have been asking me about making a comeback," Warne wrote in the newspaper. "All I can say is that it is very flattering to hear those words."

However, he preferred to look at what options Australia could take among their current players. It is almost certain that Xavier Doherty won't be retained after taking three wickets in his first two Tests and being punished by the England batsmen.

"Do they opt for Nathan Hauritz or a wrist-spinner like Steve Smith?", Warne wrote. "Do they play two spinners or none at all and prepare a green, grassy wicket in Perth? That would be a big gamble against England's seam attack.

"The pitch is not fast and bouncy these days, so maybe you get a local guy who knows the Perth conditions, like left-arm spinner Michael Beer. Sometimes horses for courses works. Australia have to explore all options and win this next match to get back into the series. They need to look at all avenues and go all out for a win."

Beer, 26, has taken 16 first-class wickets in five matches at 39.93. He played against England in their opening tour match at Perth and claimed 5 for 207 but conceded runs at five per over.

Hauritz is favoured for a recall, and hit a hundred as nightwatchman for New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield match against South Australia having gone wicketless in his first innings. However, in his previous Shield match, against Western Australia at the WACA, he took a five-wicket haul.

"Whenever you're dropped you are always looking to perform well," Hauritz said. "I've been lucky enough to take some wickets and score some runs but the job's only halfway done. I was dropped for not doing my role in the side. I've got to go back to first-class cricket and prove I can do that and restore the faith in the selectors and the captain. If you're taking wickets, scoring runs and playing the role they want you're put in their faces."

Meanwhile, back in Melbourne, England's wicketkeeper, Matt Prior, admitted he was bemused by the rumours. "I've absolutely no idea what's going on," he said. "I don't read the press, I don't hear anything, I don't listen to any of it. If he's going to come back, great. If he's not, who knows? Whoever comes into their team we'll have to look at, process, work out how we're going to play against them like any other player, whether it be Shane Warne, Merv Hughes or anyone else. We'd look at them, the video footage and respect them like any other cricketers, so that's what we're going to do."

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