Stuart MacGill's retirement has raised more questions over whether Shane Warne could end his international exile, but Cricket Australia is confident there will be no return. While Darren Lehmann and Kerry O'Keeffe feel Warne could make a successful comeback, James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, believes he has heard the final word.
"I am in Mumbai and I let Shane know that Stuart was about to announce his retirement," Sutherland told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Shane was very clear on the subject: he said that not only is he very happily retired, but also that [a comeback] is the furthest thing from his mind. So that would seem to be the end of that."
Warne's former mentor Terry Jenner told AAP it was "time to move forward" and said in the Herald there was "no logical reason to go backwards". However, his position was not as clear in the Australian.
"The very situation that Warney talked about has arrived," Jenner said. "All the criteria have been met for what Shane said would be the criteria for him to come back. Shane has been playing cricket, albeit Twenty20, MacGill has retired and the choice is to go to one of the young kids who might not be ready."
Beau Casson, who is on the West Indies tour, is the best-placed person to replace MacGill in the short term while the South Australian pair of Dan Cullen and Cullen Bailey held Cricket Australia contracts for 2007-08. The third Test against West Indies starts in Barbados on June 12 and Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke could also be employed instead of Casson.
O'Keeffe, who played 24 Tests in the 1970s, said in the Australian Warne was a "big chance of a comeback now". "I think he would do very well in England," he said. Last month Warne said he would consider stepping in for one Test series if Australia really needed him.
"You would have to be mad not to take him if we were struggling for whatever reason," Darren Lehmann told the paper. "He definitely still has the fire in the belly. I saw that first-hand in the IPL. He is still bowling brilliantly, has been working hard on his fitness and can still bowl a lot of overs in a day."