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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 January 2008, 11:01 GMT
Warne to miss games to play poker
By Nathan Mercer

Shane Warne
Warne is in Australia competing in the Aussie Millions event
Hampshire will be without captain Shane Warne for the start of the season because of his poker commitments.

Warne, 38, will compete in a number of events throughout the year as part of his deal with an online poker company.

Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove told BBC Sport: "We are confident he will back, but we will have to start the season with someone different.

"I am going to chat with Shane on 15 February and work out a sensible cricket programme for both of us."

Warne had already indicated he was set to miss Hampshire's Twenty20 Cup campaign in June - but he had not played in this tournament for a couple of seasons anyway.

The tournament co-incides with the Poker World Series in Las Vegas and Warne said recently in his column for the Times, "I will fit in what I can around cricket".

606: DEBATE
Nathan M - BBC Sport

Bransgrove concedes his skipper will miss chunks of the season but is confident the Australian spinner will return to lead the side.

He added: "I am sure he will finish the season with us and certain he will be back long before that.

"I know who the replacement will be but there are still contract issues to finalise and I will announce those plans when they are complete.

"We have got most of the plans in place for the new season."

Warne, who retired from international Test cricket last year, will compete in some of the World Series of Poker events that are contested across the US, UK and New Zealand.

Warne has also agreed to take up a development role for Cricket Australia to work with the country's young spinners.

Hampshire host county champions Sussex at the Rose Bowl on 16 April in their season opener before a trip to Somerset four days later in the Friends Provident Trophy.

SEE ALSO
Warne to coach Australia spinners
26 Dec 07 |  Australia


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