Shane Warne: "I say I if I've got a Test match in two weeks' time I have absolutely no doubt that I could come out and rip 'em and be effective and do pretty well..." Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
LEG-SPIN legend Shane Warne is adamant he could return to Test cricket on a whim and still excel, were it not for his family priorities trumping cricket.
''If you asked me, 'Can I come out and play a Test match tomorrow?' I'd have absolutely no doubt I could rip them out of the rough and turn them square, all that sort of stuff,'' Warne said. ''But playing international cricket is a huge commitment.
''Playing Twenty20 is different. You're only bowling 24 deliveries, sometimes you might only bowl eight, sometimes 12. It depends on what the game needs. You don't have to be prepared as you do for a Test match, to bowl 60 overs in a match. That would test my fitness if I ever had to do that again, which is highly unlikely,'' Warne said.
Warne's unconventional preparation for this year's Twenty20 tournament - training in wintry conditions in Europe and also India during a television commentary stint before arriving in Melbourne late last week - has not stopped the 43-year-old from declaring he has been bowling better than he had at any time since his Test retirement almost six years ago, if not longer.
''People say 'You're bowling that well, why don't you play for Australia again?'. I say I if I've got a Test match in two weeks' time I have absolutely no doubt that I could come out and rip 'em and be effective and do pretty well, but that's a commitment to Australian cricket again. That's a different thing to being committed to the Melbourne Stars. I'm committed to that now and I'm trying to do the best job I can.''
Warne, 43, divides his time between Melbourne, home of his three children, and London, the primary home of his fiancee Elizabeth Hurley and her son. He said the main reason he agreed to play for the Stars was his confidence that he could do so without compromising his family responsibilities. Those responsibilities are also the reason a return to international cricket is off his agenda.
''I don't see cricket as a job, cricket is always a hobby to me. My job is trying to be the best parent I possibly can be to my children … and I'm doing pretty good with that, I love being a father.''
Warne's BBL season for the Stars begins on Friday night at Etihad Stadium against Melbourne Renegades, who boast Muthiah Muralidaran.