Warne would consider Ashes return

Shane Warne has opened the door for a dramatic return for the 2009 Ashes, but only if Australia still have problems with trying to fill his spin position. Warne retired from internationals following the final Test against England in Sydney in 2007, and earlier this year ended his first-class career by withdrawing from his Hampshire deal.

However, he has been one of the outstanding performers in the Indian Premier League with the Rajasthan Royals, who currently top the league table, taking 14 wickets at 18.78. At the same time Australia are struggling to find a consistent, frontline Test spinner, although Stuart MacGill's recovery from wrist surgery has been a promising sign.

"If Australia really needed me and there was no one else around, and Ricky Ponting thought I could do the job, you would weigh up the options," Warne told the Herald Sun. "If Stuey MacGill fell over and broke his leg, and there were no other spinners around, and Ricky came out and said, 'Mate, can you please help us out for this one-off tour? We need you', that is something I would weigh up."

Warne, who took 708 Test wickets, said he still had the passion to play at the top level, but it was the lifestyle that made him quit after the Ashes whitewash. "If I wanted to keep playing I don't think there would be an issue with me being the No. 1 spinner and performing," he said. "I would still love to be playing international cricket, and miss it because I devoted 20 years to first-class cricket.

"It is a big part of my life. The reason I retired was to spend time with my kids. I was also sick of international touring here, there and everywhere, other commitments, and team meetings. If you could just turn up and play Test cricket, that would be cool. I would definitely consider that. At this stage, it is a fairytale."

It was expected MacGill would slot straight back into the team last season, but after two poor Tests against Sri Lanka, when he was afflicted by injuries, he opted for an operation which kept him out for the majority of 2007-08. Brad Hogg was given a run, without impressing, and quit international cricket, while the domestic cupboard isn't overflowing. MacGill has been recalled for the current tour of West Indies while Beau Casson, the New South Wales left-arm wrist spinner, has been handed his first senior squad call-up.