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Warne denies Ashes return

London: Proving he can tease and torment just as well without a ball in hand, Shane Warne has backed away from claims he wants to come out of retirement to help Australia in next year’s Ashes series.

After waking to headlines on Wednesday, declaring he was willing to end his five-year exile from Test cricket and return if asked by skipper and best friend Michael Clarke, former leg-spinner Warne took to Twitter to explain his situation. “Clarification guys & thankyou for the kind words, but... I was asked ‘could’ I play not ‘would’ I play..yes, I could..didn’t say I would!” Warne wrote.

“It was a hypothetical question re if Michael Clarke asked me... Read my quotes ‘I’m not asking Michael to ask me’ Hope I didn’t disappoint!”

“Sorry @MClarke23 if you woke up to calls! See you soon buddy....”

However, Warne could not resist tantalising Australian cricket fans just a little more through Twitter. “Ps although my future wife @ElizabethHurley loves seeing me dressed up in my cricket whites!!!!!!! Xxx,” he wrote.

News of Warne’s possible return ahead of back-to-back Ashes series next year reverberated around the cricketing world.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain was salivating at the prospect of the 43-year-old rolling the arm over again, despite the leg-spinning legend torturing the English throughout his stellar Test career.

Hussain wrote in a daily: “Warne is the greatest cricketer I ever played against, and he has never been anything less than absolutely box-office. Australia have tried 12 Test spinners since he quit at the end of the 2006-07 Ashes, and you know he’d get stuck in. “He’s fitter than he used to be and he hasn’t lost that competitive edge. He wouldn’t struggle with the mental side, either.”

“If a mere mortal like me was thinking about a Test return in my 40s, I’d be worried about making a fool of myself. But Warne’s always had this huge self-belief. Worry would not be an option. I’d love to see him play for Australia again. Who wouldn’t?”