The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Warne: Won’t play if I can’t deliver the goods

Melbourne: Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne said on Tuesday he would not play in next year’s World Cup unless he was fully fit.

Warne told a packed media conference that he was not prepared to risk further injury by coming back prematurely after dislocating his shoulder on the weekend. “If I come back too soon and I am not 100 percent, that won’t do anyone any good,” Warne said.

“I’m going to give it my best shot to get it right as quick as I can. Hopefully that will be in time for the World Cup. If it’s not, then so be it.”

Warne, 33, said he would begin physiotherapy on his bowling shoulder within the next few days and, while he was expecting to be out of action for between four and six weeks, he was concerned that he would not be fit when the World Cup started on February 9.

“I would not do anything or put myself up for selection if I didn’t think I could deliver the goods,” Warne said. “That’s no good for Australia’s chances of regaining the World Cup and winning it again.

The surgery went okay but there are a few little things in there that need to be mended and healed. The various scenarios will be weighed up over the next month.”

Warne’s place in the World Cup was thrown in doubt after he dislocated his right shoulder fielding against England on Sunday.

He underwent exploratory surgery on Monday which showed there was no major damage to the bone but doctors said he would still be sidelined for at least a month, ruling him out of the final two Ashes Tests and the rest of the triangular one-day series with England and Sri Lanka.

Against odds

According to sports medicine expert Dr Peter Larkins, Warne has a less than 50 percent chance of being fit for the World Cup. He said while the legspinner had chosen the right kind of surgery to treat his shoulder, his attempts to be fit for South Africa were optimistic.

“I think he’s against the odds. I’d rate him less than a 50-50 chance to play.”

Warne’s troublesome right shoulder needed complete reconstruction in 1998 and while this injury was unrelated, the world’s second-highest wicket-taker said he was disappointed by the timing after working so hard to get himself fit again.

“I’ve been on a fitness campaign the last 12 months and been as fit as I’ve ever been, and bowling probably better than I ever have,” Warne said.

“After all the injuries that I’ve had ... it’s pretty disappointing to have what happened to me the other night. But there are a lot worse things in the world at the moment than me with a dodgy shoulder.”

ACB unclear

Meanwhile, a report by AFP added that the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) was confused about the interpretation of rules governing squad changes brought about by injuries during the World Cup.

The ACB has been re-reading the rules regarding injuries at the February-March tournament following Warne’s shoulder dislocation. The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed on Monday that Australia could pick Warne in its final squad of 15, due on December 31, but replace him even during the tournament.

The ACB also wants to find out whether Australia can go outside the preliminary squad of 30 players, named at the start of this month, if it has to replace Warne. Fellow leg-spinner Stuart MacGill and Test captain Steve Waugh are among those who did not make the 30-man squad.

“Our understanding is there’s flexibility in that, certainly there was flexibility at the previous World Cup and we don’t see that's changed,” ACB chief executive James Sutherland said Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s entirely clear, all of those little issues.”

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