No easing off for over-worked spin wizard

Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne:Shane Warne says he has no plans to ease off his bowling workload as he faces another exhaustive year of cricket.

Test cricket's all-time leading wicket-taker faces back-to-back Test tours over the next two months and another season with English county side Hampshire before the much-anticipated Ashes series with England here later this year.

The 36-year-old master leg-spinner bowled 335.2 overs in seven Tests, 50 overs more than any other bowler, in the recent southern summer season and is faced with tours of South Africa and Bangladesh and captaining Hampshire before leading Australia's bowling attack against England at the Gabba in November.

Warne, who has captured 659 Test wickets, said Tuesday he had no plans to ease off on the English county circuit, as his captaincy and bowling commitments for Hampshire had to be met.

"The game will dictate how many overs I bowl," he said when asked by reporters on how he would manage his prodigious workload ahead of an important home 2006-07 summer.

"If the game is there to be won and we need to bowl to try to win the game then that's what I'll do," he said on Tuesday.

"I'm going over there 100 percent to support Hampshire and to lead them the best way I can."

Warne has bowled 37,967 deliveries in Test cricket, more than 4,000, which is more than Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, the next highest wicket-taker with 584.

But Warne, whose career has been threatened by shoulder injuries, was confident over his remarkable ability to keep backing up.

"I had a few little niggles, but I wouldn't have played over 130 Test matches if you couldn't get through a few niggles," he said.

"When it's your back you've got to be careful, when you're getting pins and needles down my legs, but if you've got to play through those things then that's what you've got to do."

Warne can expect little respite in the coming Test series in South Africa.

He has bowled 170 overs or more in five three-match series against the Proteas, including 190.5 overs in 1993-94, which was only 4.3 overs fewer than he bowled during the entire five-match Ashes series in England in 2001.

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