Warne's 'still got the magic'
Melbourne - Spin king Shane Warne has still "got it" according to an awestruck team-mate who faced him in a nets session ahead of his return to competitive cricket, a report said on Thursday.
Warne, 42, ended his stellar playing career at the Indian Premier League in May, but announced a return to the game for the Melbourne Stars in Australia's Big Bash Twenty20 tournament, which starts on December 16.
Despite months out of the game, Melbourne team-mate Alex Keath said the legendary leg-spinner could still impart his trademark flippers and wrong 'uns with deadly accuracy.
"He was still very accurate and he's certainly still got it," The Melbourne Age quoted batsman Keath as saying.
"The control is just on a whole different level; to rip the ball that hard and land them in the right areas, not many bowlers even come close. He is on a different planet in terms of his control and his variations as well."
Rated one of five cricketers of the 20th century by Wisden, Warne took 708 Test wickets in a colourful career as notable for his controversies and romances - including with actress Liz Hurley - as his spin exploits.
The Australian, who quit one-day cricket in 2005 and Tests two years later, spent four seasons with IPL franchise the Rajasthan Royals and retired after helping them this year to six wins from 14 games.
Confirming his comeback for the Melbourne team in November, Warne said he still had confidence in his abilities.
"I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I could be pulling my weight, being able to go out there and change the course of a game," Warne told reporters.
"It has got nothing to do with money. If it was something to do with money, I would be still playing in the IPL."
He said part of his desire to return was that he wanted his three children to be able to see him at work and it was an "added bonus" his fiancee Hurley would be there too.
Several overseas players have signed up with the eight franchises that will contest the Big Bash, including South Africans Herschelle Gibbs and Johan Botha, Paul Collingwood of England, and Pakistan's Shahid Afridi.