Island Cricket

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Warne Plays It Cool On Murali Feat

Shane Warne insists he is unconcerned at the prospect of Muttiah Muralitharan breaking his record for most Test wickets during Sri Lanka's upcoming tour of Australia.

The Australian leg-spin legend retired from the international scene at the end of last winter's Ashes triumph having claimed 708 Test victims, currently eight more than his Sri Lankan counterpart.

But Muralitharan has the opportunity to overhaul that mark during two Test matches in November, although the off-spinner has been a figure of controversy in Australia since being first being called for throwing by Darrel Hair during the Boxing Day Test in 1995, and has struggled with Sri Lanka Down Under where he has been the target of abuse from Aussie fans.

But Warne, rather than fret about losing his place in the history books, is just happy to have entertained a legion of cricket fans over the course of a career that has enthralled the watching public.

"Good luck to him," Warne said.

"It's been nice to hold the record for three or four years and hopefully the Aussie batsmen will make it a little bit hard for him.

"But it's more about the way you play the game, the spirit in which you play, and I'd like to think that I've entertained over the years.

"I'd like to leave a legacy that I've entertained everywhere I've played, I've never given up and I've been pretty competitive and hopefully people have enjoyed that.

"The records and that stuff, well, good luck to Murali, he could take it to a thousand wickets."

Warne was part of an All-Star team that finished as runners-up at the Hong Kong Sixes after losing out to Sri Lanka in the final.

And after playing in a side containing Brian Lara, Glenn McGrath, Craig McMillan, Heath Streak, Geraint Jones and Anil Kumble, the 38-year-old is hopeful six-a-side cricket could become more prevalent on the international circuit and allow the veterans to showcase their talents to newer audiences.

"I think it'd be really good if we could have an extra couple of weekends," he added.

"One weekend in Hong Kong is great but it would be good if you had another couple of weekends through the year in some other places, Dubai or those type of places, to help spread the word of cricket.

"To have all these teams involved or at least two or three weekends rather than one would be great."

For now, Warne faces the unfamiliar prospect of putting his feet up over the winter after captaining Hampshire to a relatively successful county season that included a Friends Provident Trophy final appearance.

"I'm very passionate about the game," he said.

"I've been involved in first-class cricket for 20 years but it's a bit of a strange feeling coming back to Australia and not playing for St Kilda or domestic cricket for Victoria and Australia.

"But the body enjoys it, the shoulder and back aren't sore and I'd help them out if needed."

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