Where there’s smoke there’s fire with Shane Warne. Australian captain Michael Clarke reignited the flames yesterday.
“Yeah, I spoke to Warnie and nothing has really changed.”
“I think Warnie retired about five years ago and from the day he retired I’ve been asking him to come back and play (Tests) for Australia”.
Crystal clear where the skipper stands, the rest is up to Shane Warne.
He’s 43, and to quote him he’s fit and bowling as well as ever.
Those are the two most vital factors – to link with the undisputed fact he’s the best – the best leggie in history, the best captain Australia never had which is Warne’s own fault with his off-field misdemeanours, the best television commentator, and still the best drawcard in Australian cricket.
But then it gets harder. If he is to return he will have to play Sheffield Shield cricket for the Vics, a stipulation from both the selectors and Clarke.
That’s the only real stumbling block with Warne so multi-talented he may not feel obliged to restrict his activities.
He has one foot in London with fiancee Liz Hurley, the other in Melbourne with his kids, the distance too great.
But you can see where Clarke is coming from with a Test attack that no-one fears, an attack that has great difficulty is dismissing good sides twice to win a Test.
His pacemen keep breaking down so there’s little continuity and four spinners on the roster – offies Nathan Lyon and Glenn Maxwell, and left armers Michael Beer and Xavier Doherty – none of whom will ever rip opposition batsmen apart.
And no leggies.
Warne knows the how, underlined by his 37 hauls of five Test wickets in an innings and 10 wickets in a match 10 times.
The current attack can only dream of those figures.
So let’s have Warne back in the mix.
The Ashes schedule is exciting – five Tests in England from July 10 to August 25 at Trent Bridge, Lords, Old Trafford, Chester-le-Street, and The Oval followed by five more in Australia from November 21 to January seven at the Gabba, Adelaide, WACA, MCG, and SCG.
That schedule would become even more exciting if Shane Keith Warne was an integral part of it.
It’s entirely up to him.