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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Hookes wants Warne to train with Victoria

March 05, 2003 12:53 IST

Australia's leading wicket-taker Shane Warne should be free to train with his state team Victoria while serving a 12-month doping ban, Victoria coach David Hookes said on Wednesday.

Former Australia Test batsman Hookes said it would be unfair if the 33-year-old leg spinner at the centre of the sport's biggest doping scandal was not permitted to properly prepare himself for a return to international cricket in February 2004.

"I concede his playing ban ends on February 10, but surely he should be ready to play on February 11," Hookes told reporters in Melbourne.

"There's no point saying to Warne, go to some club ground and bowl against yourself, he needs to bowl against batsmen of quality.

"I'm not sure if he can or not, but that's certainly one thing we would fight on his behalf.

"I don't think anybody anywhere, even (World Anti-Doping Agency chairman) Dick Pound, would say he shouldn't be allowed to at least play on the 11th."

Pound said at an anti-doping summit in Copenhagen this week he could not understand how Warne did not receive a two-year ban.

"They found no exceptional circumstances ... how is it that you don't impose the minimum penalty?," the Canadian lawyer said.

An Australian Cricket Board anti-doping tribunal announced last month, following an eight-hour hearing and overnight deliberations, that Warne would be banned from all cricket for a year.

Warne, one of Wisden's five cricketers of the 20th century, was sent home from the World Cup in southern Africa last month.

Test cricket's second-leading wicket-taker and the man-of-the-match in Australia's 1999 World Cup final victory, Warne had tested positive for a diuretic, which can be used to disguise the use of other drugs.

ACB spokesman Peter Young said on Wednesday: "We're seeking to understand what he can and can't do -- obviously he can't play.

"We also want to help work out a plan that will have him in peak condition and form once he returns to cricket," Young added.

ACB chief executive James Sutherland spoke out in Warne's defence on February 23, a day after the ban was announced. Sutherland, who attended the tribunal hearing, told reporters in Zimbabwe: "Shane Warne is no drug cheat.

"It is a 12-month ban but as far as I am concerned Shane is still a valued member of Australian cricket and the future of Australian cricket," Sutherland added.

Victoria coach Hookes said he hoped Warne would visit the team's dressing room during their interstate four-day match against Western Australia starting at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.

© 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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