Warne rules out Test comeback

Australian spin legend Shane Warne said on Wednesday he was “happily retired’ from Test cricket and had no intention of staging a dramatic comeback.

Warne was responding to speculation that he would be tempted back into bamboozling the world’s top batsmen by Stuart McGill’s surprise retirement this week.

“I’ve got no interest at all at this stage. I’m very happily retired, I’m comfortable where I’m at at the moment,” he told reporters on arrival at Melbourne Airport.

Warne (38) who retired from international cricket in January 2007 with a then world record 708 Test wickets, last month raised the prospect of a return for next year’s Ashes series against England if MacGill was injured.

But he said Wednesday those comments did not apply to the current situation.

“I actually said I was happily retired and if Stuart MacGill broke his leg—which he hasn’t, he’s retired—and there was no other spinner in Australia and if Ricky [Ponting] asked me, I’d consider it,” Warne said.

“If that’s coming back out of retirement, I’m not sure. I don’t think it is.”

MacGill called it quits on his 44-Test career on Sunday midway through the second Test against the West Indies in Antigua after admitting that at 37 he was no longer up to the rigours of international cricket.

The veteran, who spent much of his playing career in Warne’s shadow, only made the Australian tour of the Caribbean after overcoming serious knee and wrist injuries.

Australian selectors now have to decide who will be the team’s first-choice spinner for Australia’s four-Test tour of India in October following the retirements of MacGill and Brad Hogg.

They had hoped MacGill could provide a bridge between the retirement of Warne and the emergence of a new frontline spinner but, just eight Tests into the post-Warne era, no obvious heir apparent has appeared.

With McGill dropping out of the series against the West Indies, which Australia leads 1-0, young left-arm spinner Beau Casson is likely to make his debut in the third and final Test starting in Barbados next week.

MacGill said the fear of not playing his best cricket was at the back of his retirement decision.

“Unfortunately, now my time is up. As I said many times last summer, there is no way I will ever walk onto a cricket field unless I can guarantee that I can dismiss top order batsmen consistently,” MacGill said.

Warne has admitted he misses playing international cricket and said that he would be up to the task of returning to the top level if called on.

“If I wanted to keep playing I don’t think there would be an issue with me being the number one spinner and performing,” Warne told an Australian newspaper last month.

“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.”

But the leg-spin wizard now has other interests which are expected to keep him busy through the southern hemisphere winter.

He is due to take part in a sponsored BMX challenge with several other sports stars on Thursday and is expected to spend the next month with his children.

He then heads to Las Vegas to play in a series of celebrity poker tournaments before considering offers from television companies keen to have him as a commentator for the next season. - AFP

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