Warne says good bye, plans retirement life

Published: Friday, January 5, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Shane Warne doubts he will suffer from "spotlight withdrawal" after his farewell from Test cricket in Australia's overwhelming 10-wicket fifth Ashes Test win over England here.

World cricket's dominating personality signed off with a topscoring 71 in Australia's first innings of 393 and took the psychological wicket of captain Andrew Flintoff to put England on the skids in their second innings shambles.

The incomparable leg-spinner claimed two wickets in his final Test to finish his 145-Test career with 708 wickets at 25.42, the most wickets by any bowler.

Never one to shirk publicity, good or bad, the 37-year-old Warne is relieved it's all over after a never-a-dull-moment 15-year playing career.

Asked at his final press conference as a cricketer if he will suffer from "spotlight withdrawal", Warne fired: "I doubt it.

"I tell you what. Hopefully, it'll keep people off my front lawn for a while. Following me a round in cars, all those type of things," he said.

"Hopefully, that will die down. I won't miss that at all. Maybe I can get my gear off and dance on top of a bar if I want to."

The irrepressible leg-spinner intends playing more poker, snooker and golf in his increasing spare time away from big-time cricket.

"I'm a pretty competitive person, so playing poker will be up there. Pool or snooker, golf. I will have the odd wager on the golf course," he said.

"Nothing can replace the opportunity to play for Australia. To get out there with a group of guys to try and achieve something -- the beauty of a team sport.

"The things that we go through as individuals off the field can be quite tough. Without the help and support of your team-mates, it's really tough to get through sometimes some of the things you have to deal with in your personal life.

"Some of us are exposed a lot more in the press than others, but that's the way it is.

"I've made some wonderful friends. It's all about friendships for me. Friends I've played with in Australia and that I've played against -- Sachin Tendulkar, or Brian Lara or Andrew Flintoff -- that's what it's about.

"Yes, it will be hard to replace that stuff. But, you just find a way to do whatever you have to do."

Warne is bullish about the future of Australian cricket without the likes of Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and himself.

"I don't think Australia will come back to the field. They'll replace us three guys and I'm sure Australia will keep playing good cricket and winning," he said.

"We've won 16 out of 17 Tests. I bought a print for 35,000 dollars that was 16 in a row, so hopefully it rains in a couple of the (Australia's) next Tests. Maybe I'll have to buy the next one when they win 17," he quipped.

"When we won 16 in a row, I didn't think it would happen again. To be on the verge of doing that again, won 16 out of 17, that's an amazing journey and a testament to the quality of players we've got."

Australia will get that opportunity when they take on Sri Lanka and India over six Tests at home from next November.

"It'll be interesting to see which way the selectors go. Will they go for some 30-year-old players to replace us, or will they go for some youth?" he said.

"It's a good time to get some younger players into the Test side while it's been so successful and there is a decent gap (to) the next best side.

"At the moment, we're a long way ahead of the next best side. As you can see, England are rated the next-best side and to win 5-nil, you can't be any more comprehensive than that.

"So there is a good gap between Australia and the next best side. That's not being arrogant, that's just the facts."


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