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Old October 12, 2003, 04:36 PM
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Default Ban nearly sent Warne to England

By Malcolm Conn
October 13, 2003

SHANE WARNE has told close associates he considered walking out on Australian cricket and playing for England following his drugs ban, The Sunday Times in London has claimed.

The expectations on him, the adulation, and pressure on his marriage were so great that he contemplated settling in Hampshire, the county he will return to captain next English summer.

Warne spent several weeks in Europe to escape from media and supporters alike after his ban for using diuretics.

Warne's manager and brother Jason said the former Australian vice-captain was unavailable for comment last night.

At the age of 33, he would have had to spend four years qualifying to play for England. Finally he decided this would have shortened his Test career too much, and he was too wedded to his native country.

Warne could not have played for an adopted country until 2008. As it is, he will be able to resume his Test career on February 22 next year, having taken 491 wickets in 107 Tests.

Warne, who turned 34 last month, is treated in Australia like English footballers or pop stars are treated at home. And at one point he'd had enough.

He was banned for using a diuretic which he said was given to him by his mother. His explanation was considered by an anti-doping tribunal as vague, unsatisfactory and inconsistent and he was lucky to escape a two-year ban.

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