So long spin­ner

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page -

CRICKET fans with tick­ets to Melbourne’s Box­ing Day Test or Syd­ney’s New Year Test should hold on to them.

Con­fir­ma­tion yes­ter­day of Shane Warne’s re­tire­ment will raise their his­tor­i­cal value ap­pre­cia­bly, es­pe­cially as the cham­pion legspin­ner is one scalp away from be­com­ing the first player to claim 700 Test wick­ets.

Sri Lankan Mut­tiah Mu­ralitha­ran is likely to sur­pass that one day, but Aus­tralians may never see Warne’s like again.

Warne, 37, will see out the last two years of a three-year con­tract with English county side Hamp­shire but is fin­ished play­ing at all lev­els in Aus­tralia.

His de­par­ture is at the cen­tre of a gap­ing loss of tal­ent this sum­mer, fol­low­ing the re­tire­ment of Damien Mar­tyn, 35, and the ex­pected i m m i n e n t e x i t o f G l e n n McGrath, 36.

But Warne em­phat­i­cally ruled out any re­turn to in­ter­na­tional or Aus­tralian do­mes­tic cricket.

‘‘I wanted to go out on top and I wanted to go out on my terms,’’ said the vet­eran of 699 wick­ets in 143 Tests, once de­scribed by Sir Don­ald Brad­man as ‘the best thing that’s hap­pened to the game for many, many years’.

Warne’s fi­nal am­bi­tion was to win the Ashes back — ‘un­fin­ished busi­ness’ now taken care of af­ter three suc­ces­sive vic­to­ries over Eng­land.

He re­vealed he may well have re­tired last year if Aus­tralia had not lost the Ashes in Eng­land.

‘‘My jour­ney has been phe­nom­e­nal,’’ said Warne.

‘‘I couldn’t have asked for things to go any bet­ter, but my time (to re­tire) has come.’’

Wish­ing to be re­mem­bered as an en­ter­tainer who ‘tried his guts out’ ev­ery time he played, Warne said he had no idea what the fu­ture held for him.

It may in­clude a spot on the Chan­nel Nine com­men­tary team, or cricket coach­ing or ad­min­is­tra­tion. It may in­clude busi­ness ven­tures. It may even in­clude more time with his di­vorced wife Si­mone, with whom he still shares a home in Melbourne.

‘‘Who knows what the fu­ture holds there?’’ was Warne’s tan­ta­lis­ing ques­tion.

It will def­i­nitely in­clude more time with his three chil­dren, who at first took news of his re­tire­ment harder than any­one.

‘‘They got a bit dis­ap­pointed be­cause they thought I wasn’t go­ing to be play­ing back yard cricket with them any more,’’ said the world’s great­est bowler.

LAST HUR­RAH . . . the leg­endary spin bowler in ac­tion

Shane Warne

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