Warne set to come out of retirement

Shane Warne is reportedly set to come out of retirement to play Twenty20 cricket in Australia’s Big Bash League.

The leg-spinner, 42, will sign for the Melbourne Stars franchise next week, according to media reports.

His glittering career ended at the Indian Premier League (IPL) in May.

“We understand through Shane Warne’s management that he is still considering offers from several teams, including the Melbourne Stars,” Stars chief executive Clint Cooper stated.

Warne tweeted on Friday: “For the record-Im Seriously contemplating & considering coming out of retirement for the 20/20 big bash competition in Aust over dec / jan !” [sic]

He retired from international cricket in January 2007 after taking 708 Test wickets, but continued to captain and coach Rajasthan Royals in the IPL’s first four seasons.

Never far from the media spotlight following his recent engagement to British actress Elizabeth Hurley, Warne hinted in September that he might play in the Big Bash League, which has been revamped for the 2011-12 season.

The traditional six Australian state teams have been replaced by eight city-based franchises, including two each in Melbourne and Sydney.

Unsurprisingly, Warne has been linked with the Stars, who will play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in his home city and are captained by Australia’s Twenty20 skipper Cameron White.

His manager James Erskine said: “He’s as fit as he’s ever been and he believes he is still one of the top spin bowlers in the world.

“But he is 42 and realises if he plays there is a certain amount of hype and media attention that comes with that. One of the advantages would be that his kids are now old enough to watch him play.”

The Big Bash League runs from 16 December until 28 January, with each side able to field two overseas players.

Former England one-day captain Paul Collingwood (Perth Scorchers) will play in the competition, as will England limited overs players Luke Wright (Melbourne Stars), Owais Shah (Hobart Hurricanes) and Michael Lumb (Sydney Sixers).

Other overseas stars include one-day specialists Kieron Pollard (West Indies), Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa) and Shahid Afridi (Pakistan).


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