Thatscricket - News - Shane Warne back in contention for Test slot

Published: Monday, February 9, 2004, 21:09 [IST]
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Melbourne:Shane Warne returns to cricket , saying he has badly missed not being part of the action.

Warne's 12-month doping ban expires at midnight on Monday and he will play for the Victorian second XI on day two of the four-day game against Queensland at Junction Oval in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The Test leg-spinner's return will attract enormous interest, with a large crowd of media and fans expected at the small oval.

The Queensland team and the umpires have approved Warne's late entry into the reserves game.

Victorian second XI team-mates on Monday set Warne up for the ideal return to cricket.

Victorian seconds captain Peter Roach won the toss and his side were 290 for three at stumps in its first innings.

That means Warne will probably have a bat on Tuesday and bowl his leg spin later in the day.

"I haven't been doing it for 12 months and I've realised how much I miss it and do enjoy it when I'm playing," Warne told radio on Monday.

Warne's return will also attract attention from national chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns, who is in Melbourne for the Victoria-South Australia Sheffield Shield game.

Hohns said he would be stopping by at Junction Oval.

"The publicity that is surrounding Shane's return has been unbelievable, to be quite honest," Hohns said.

"Shane is a big-name player. He's been an outstanding player for Australia, so everyone has been waiting for him to get back on the field, there can be no doubts about that. I guess it's a matter of having a look and seeing how he's bowling -- it's very difficult to gauge or make an assessment in his return day."

Warne predictably was not named in Monday's squad for the One-day tour of Sri Lanka, which starts this month.

His big date will be February 20, when the Sri Lankan Test squad is named.

Warne is retired from One-dayers, but Hohns said he would certainly be considered if he was to change his mind.

"Given the Australian One-day side has been very successful, well, that would be a difficult one for us to include him over the top of the others if he was to make himself available," Hohns said.

"However, in saying that he would be most welcome if he was to make himself available for selection and then we would just have to make a judgment as to whether we should pick him."

After this match, Warne's next chances to impress the selectors will be a One-dayer in Melbourne against Tasmania on Saturday and a Shield game against Tasmania starting the following day.

Warne and McGrath raring to go

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