Warne still contemplating Twenty20 cricket return

Former test great Shane Warne is expected to decide Monday whether he'll make a return from a short-lived retirement to play in Australia's Big Bash Twenty20 tournament.

Warne, 42, formally retired from top-class cricket in May after the Rajasthan Royals' last game of the 2011 Indian Premier League. He played his last test match for Australian in 2007, finishing with a then-world record 708 test wickets.

Today, Australian media reported that Warne, in Melbourne with his fiancee British actress Elizabeth Hurley, was contemplating a return to one of two Melbourne teams in the inaugural eight-team league, with the allure of playing again at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as a major enticement.

"He is an asset, he will excite people across the league, not just the team he plays for," said Mike McKenna, Cricket Australia's Twenty20 manager. Warne said two weeks ago that he was considering a return.

"Is it a great way to give something back to Australian cricket when they are starting something new, as a great way to help younger players? I don't know," Warne said.

Despite not playing for nearly six months, Warne has lost 12 kilograms (26.5 pounds) to put his weight in the region of 78 kilograms (172 pounds).

On Friday, the Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades emerged as the leading candidates to sign Warne, who could pick up additional money by promoting the league as a paid ambassador, and also take advantage of third-party commercial deals.

A match between the Melbourne sides at the MCG on January 7 is expected to attract a crowd of more than 50,000.

The Big Bash begins play on December 16. "We're doing everything we possibly can to secure his (Warne's) services," Stars chief executive Clint Cooper said Friday.

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