Quick shoulder surgery boosts Warnes WC aspirations

Published: Monday, December 16, 2002, 19:32 [IST]
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Sydney: Australia's talismanic bowler Shane Warne may still play at next year's cricket World Cup after better-than-expected news on his shoulder injury on Monday. The champion leg spinner dislocated his right bowling shoulder while playing in a One-day match against England in Melbourne on Sunday and there were even fears that 33-year-old Warne's future may have been in doubt.

Warne had reconstruction surgery on the same shoulder four years ago and given the extraordinary stresses he exerts in bowling wrist spin, commentators were ruminating on life without Warne in the Australian team. But the news was bullish on Monday following an orthroscopic surgery on the shoulder early on Monday. Team doctor Trefor James said Warne would be out of cricket for up to six weeks. That put him out of Australia's remaining two Ashes Tests against England in Melbourne and Sydney over the Christmas-New Year period, but in with a shout of playing at the World Cup. The World Cup is scheduled to start on February 9 in South Africa.

Australia's first match in the tournament is against Pakistan in Johannesburg two days later. James re-set Warne's shoulder in the team dressing room on Sunday night before he was taken to hospital for X-rays and further surgery on Monday. "I don't think I could be definite, we are hopeful he will be available and we will just have to wait until we'll be in a better position to see," James told reporters in Melbourne on Monday. James said Warne was likely to make a full recovery despite fears his latest injury might have finished his career.

"We expect him to bowl without any dramas and in the short term, we expect him to be out for four to six weeks," he said. James said the risk of Warne dislocating his shoulder again was not high and would be associated with his throwing a ball rather than bowling. James said Warne's previous shoulder surgery had no bearing on his latest injury. He said Warne had a good track record of recovering from injuries and was diligent in his approach to rehabilitation.

Warne needed reconstruction surgery on his right shoulder in 1998, forcing him out of the first four Tests of the 1998-99 home Ashes series against England. The spinner is Test cricket's second-highest wicket taker with 491 wickets behind West Indian Courtney Walsh.

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