Warne retires from first-class cricket
Sunday, 30 March 2008

Shane Warne has announced his retirement from first-class cricket while ending his eight-year association with the county side Hampshire, according to a Cricinfo report.

Warne, 38, had been a regular with Hampshire since 2000 and led them from 2004. Dimitri Mascarenhas will succeed Warne as captain.

Both sides reached a mutual agreement after prolonged discussions between Warne and Rod Bransgrove, the Hampshire chairman. Warne’s diverse business interests, his participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL) - where he is captain-coach of the Rajasthan Royals - and his need to spend time with his children in Australia meant he would not be able to commit time to Hampshire over the coming seasons.

“This was not an easy decision to make,” Warne said. “But due to some exciting business opportunities I had to make this call. My eight years with Hampshire have been a wonderful experience, memories that will last with me forever, and likewise the friendships that have been formed at the club.

“Unfortunately I am retiring from all first-class cricket but will participate in the IPL with the Jaipur franchise as captain and coach. Good luck to all involved at the Rose Bowl. I wish you all the best.” Warne will be joined in the Rajasthan Royals by the Hampshire players Mascarenhas, one of his best friends, and Shane Watson, the Australian allrounder.

“I know this will be a major disappointment to many fans of both Hampshire and Shane but, after much discussion and soul-searching, it has become clear to both of us that Shane can no longer make the commitment required to continue to lead Hampshire,” Bransgrove said. “After the commitment and loyalty he has shown to this club over the past few years, I can only wish him all the success and happiness he deserves.

“Hampshire Cricket has been hugely privileged to have enjoyed the unstinting loyalty of this living legend since 2000. The most effective and entertaining bowler of all time, Shane was also a brilliant leader and strategist. As our captain, his influence was instrumental in the development of Hampshire into one of the country’s top sides and he enriched the game wherever he played.”

Warne took 276 first-class wickets at an average of 25.59 for the county and scored 2040 runs.

He retired as Test cricket’s leading wicket-taker after the Ashes early last year, but Muttiah Muralitharan surpassed the mark of 708. Warne is undoubtedly one of the game’s greats and in 2000 was named among the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century.

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