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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

I am almost back to my best: Warne

January 26, 2003 23:25 IST

Australian leg spinner Shane Warne, who has returned to action after a month on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, believes he will regain top form in next month's World Cup.

"With each game I play I'm going to get better and better and more confident. I'm starting to get there. I'm not far away," Warne told reporters in Melbourne after Australia's 2-0 victory in the best-of-three finals against England in the VB triangular ODI series.

The 33-year-old was man-of-the-match for Australia in their 1999 World Cup final victory over Pakistan at Lord's.

Warne announced earlier this week he would retire from the shorter version of the game after the upcoming tournament in South Africa and is looking to go out a winner.

Warne dislocated his shoulder in a match against England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 15 and returned to the side for the triangular one-day series finals on Thursday and Saturday, taking one wicket for 28 runs and two for 58.

"I'm probably 25 overs away from somewhere getting back to my best," said Warne, the sixth-leading wicket-taker in one-day internationals with 291 victims in 193 matches.

"I showed a fair bit of courage to come back as quickly as I have. I said I wouldn't come back until I thought I was right. At the moment I'm pretty good. It's just a matter of finding my rhythm out in the middle."

Warne began the 1999 World Cup campaign amid doubts over his fitness and form following shoulder surgery.

The second-leading wicket-taker in test history with 491, Warne was dropped for a test against West Indies before the 1999 World Cup. However, he proved a match-winner for captain Steve Waugh in the big moments of the tournament.

"Experience can really play a huge part in the World Cup," Warne said.

"I don't think I have to prove anything to anybody about what I can do on the field on the big occasion."

"What I have to do is just prove it to myself that my shoulder is OK and just keep giving it a rip. As the games go on, hopefully I will keep improving."

"I still have a few little doubts about certain things, but I'm not far away. It's all about momentum and confidence."

Warne also said that England's Michael Vaughan, player of the Ashes test series, was one of the best batsman he had ever encountered.

The Yorkshire opener made 633 runs at 63.30 despite England's 4-1 series defeat and scored an impressive 60 from 81 balls in Saturday's five-run loss in the second one-day final in Melbourne.

"Besides Sachin Tendulkar, I think Michael Vaughan is probably the best player that I've played against for 10 years," Warne said.

"I can't think of somebody who's played consistently that well. Brian Lara has played a couple of great innings (against Australia)."

"Consider his (Vaughan's) aggressive style of play, against the quality of bowlers that he has faced all summer. Considering their team's been losing, it shows he is a really good player, one of the best going around."

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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