Sydney: Shane Warne faces the loss of at least A$ 1.5 million ($ 900,000) in cricket earnings from his 12-month drug ban, sources said Sunday. The high-profile Australian leg spinner was banned from cricket for 12 months on Saturday for taking a prohibited diuretic drug. Warne said he would appeal the ban, which fell short of the possible two-year suspension he could have faced under the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) anti-doping policy.
The punishment bars Warne from all levels of cricket, ending his role in the current World Cup in southern Africa and upcoming series against the West Indies, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. It is also likely to end Warne's quest to overtake West Indian Courtney Walsh as the most prolific wicket taker in Test history. Warne is Australia's greatest wicket- taker with 491 in 107 Tests and needs 29 wickets to overtake Walsh's world mark of 519 Test wickets.
If Warne's appeal fails he faces an uncertain few months with his lucrative ACB contract suspended while private sponsors will determine their responses. Warne is believed to earn in excess of A$ 1.5 million from cricket and endorsements. He will not be in the employ of the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) or its state associations and cannot play for his club, St Kilda. Whether he can even train with the Victorian side was unclear.
Warne is free to pursue television commentary work with 'Channel Nine', which has him under contract. The 33-year-old leg spinner spared no expense fighting the charges that he is a drug cheat, hiring a top public relations firm and a legal team reportedly costing $ 25,000 a day to present his case. If Warne does intend to continue his cricket career, his goal would be a return to the sub-continent against India in September 2004. Copyright AFP 2001