Cricket Australia (CA) says there’ll be no Ashes parachute for Shane Warne – but a quick “clarification” from the champion legspinner suggests the only thing he was pulling was our legs anyway.
Warne made some typically-teasing remarks about a potential Test comeback late on Tuesday only to shoot the idea down himself less than 24 hours later.
Asked to respond to Warne’s initial comment that he’d consider donning the Baggy Green again if asked by captain Michael Clarke, CA didn’t rule it out – but there was a caveat.
“Shane Warne making himself available for Test selection is a tantalising thought but, ultimately, this would mean Shane making himself available to play Bupa Sheffield Shield cricket, which is the place where Australian Test cricketers are selected from,” a CA spokesman said.
Warne, Australia’s record wicket-taker, has long acknowledged a return to first-class cricket would not fit with his hectic trans-continental schedule of family, business and charity commitments.
But he stoked the fires when he told News Limited: “If your best friend says, ‘Mate, I want you to seriously consider making a commitment to Australian cricket and coming back out of retirement’, (to) make myself available for selection, that’s a different scenario,” Warne said.
Come Wednesday though and there was an apology of sorts to Clarke and an explanation as to what the 43-year-old really meant.
“Clarification guys & thankyou for the kind words, but… I was asked ‘could’ I play not ‘would’ I play..yes, I could..didn’t say I would!” Warne said on Twitter.
“It was a hypothetical question re if Michael Clarke asked me… Read my quotes “I’m not asking Michael to ask me” Hope I didn’t disappoint !”
“Sorry @MClarke23 if you woke up to calls! See you soon buddy….”
Fellow spin champion Muttiah Muralitharan, who will come up against Warne in the Twenty20 Big Bash League season opener between the two Melbourne-based teams on Friday, had no doubt Warne was capable of a successful Test comeback.
“Definitely he can come back because he’s maybe fit now and he’s playing the last two years in the Big Bash,” said the Sri Lankan, adding he didn’t know if Warne was serious.
“He’s talented and, if he wish, he can walk into the side.”
Retired England skipper Nasser Hussain told English newspapers it would be great for the Ashes if Warne came back.
“Warne is the greatest cricketer I ever played against, and he has never been anything less than absolutely box-office,” Hussain said.
Warne retired from Test cricket in January 2007 and has 195 Ashes wickets in 36 Tests at an average of 23.25.