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ACB delays Warne replacement

Sydney: The identity of Shane Warne’s replacement in the Australian World Cup squad will not be known for a few more days, Ricky Ponting said Sunday.

In cricket’s biggest drugs case, spin-king Warne was banned from cricket for 12 months Saturday for taking a prohibited diuretic drug.

The ACB was expected to announce Warne’s replacement to travel this week to South Africa, but the board was now believed to be waiting for more news of Warne’s anticipated appeal before making the announcement.

Ponting and chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns have settled on the replacement — but it is understood not even the player knows if he is the one.

“There are still things we have to work through as far as a replacement goes,” Ponting said.

“We’re getting pretty close. We’re down to that person but there are a lot of other things that go with it, with Warney’s appeal hearing coming up and everything.

“There are a lot of issues to work through before that person will be named,” Ponting added.

It is believed that off-spinner Nathan Hauritz, leg-spinner Stuart MacGill and young New South Wales batsman Michael Clarke are in the fray. Hauritz remains the frontrunner after his impressive one-day International debut in South Africa last year, playing four matches in Warne’s absence.

The Queensland off-spinner is also a handy lower-order batsman and fielder while MacGill is not as talented outside his leg-spin. The ACB has to inform the ICC of the replacement before a player can be sent.

‘No drug cheat’

Meanwhile, ACB chief executive officer James Sutherland has said he does not believe Warne is a “drug cheat.”

Sutherland said he was content with the process by which the leg-spinner was banned for 12 months, but felt there was no attempt by the player to seek advantage by taking the diuretic that was found in his system.

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