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Warne avoids making sideshow at final
March 21, 2003 12:47 IST
Australia leg spinner Shane Warne, who missed the World Cup after failing a drugs test, will fly to South Africa next week after deciding his appearance at Sunday's final could be a distraction for the team.
Defending champions Australia will play India in the final at The Wanderers in Johannesburg.
A spokesman for sponsors in South Africa said on Thursday Warne had been trying unsuccessfully to book a flight from Melbourne in time for the final.
However, Warne's brother and manager Jason said on Friday the Warne camp has decided it would be best if the country's most controversial sportsman waited until next week to complete pre-arranged commitments with sponsors.
"Shane has got a flight to South Africa. He won't be there for the final though," Jason told Reuters on Friday.
"He will be doing some work for sponsors that was originally planned for during the World Cup. He wasn't able to do it during that time so he's now fulfilling those commitments after the World Cup.
"That was the principal objective. The second part of it was not to detract from or disrupt the Australian team plans in any way.
"We decided that going after the World Cup was better than going before. I think he'll be flying out early next week."
Warne, who said he would retire from one-day cricket after the tournament, flew home without bowling a ball after it was announced he had tested positive for diuretics.
The 33-year-old said he had taken the banned substance by mistake but was suspended from cricket for 12 months on February 22.
Test cricket's second-leading wicket-taker has remained in the headlines, especially in his home town of Melbourne.
He has appeared at local Australian Rules football club St Kilda's training sessions in an unofficial mentor role and is considering an offer to play for a private England invitational team Lashings in charity matches.
Warne is also keen to do media work during his drug ban.
Australian Cricket Board (ACB) spokesman Peter Young said on Friday the ACB would meet next month to clarify issues associated with the player's drug ban.
"We haven't seen any of the details of the Lashings proposal. Under the terms of his contract, he requires ACB approval for any cricket, whether it's official or unofficial, and that includes charity cricket," Young said.
"We're working with Jason and Shane to put together a programme of approved activities for consideration by our board at a meeting from April 11 to 13."
Jason Warne said: "We have an offer from Lashings. To me it's a very worthwhile thing for Shane to do over the next year."
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