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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 03:17 GMT
Legend Warne to quit after Ashes
Warne at his retirement media conference
Shane Keith Warne
Born: 13 September, 1969
Teams: Australia, Victoria, Hampshire
Tests: 143
699 wkts, ave 25.49, best 8-71
ODIs: 194
293 wkts, ave 25.73, best 5-33
First-class games: 284
1260 wkts, ave 26.02, best 8-71
Australia's star spinner Shane Warne has announced he will retire from international cricket after the Ashes.

Warne, 37, is one wicket away from becoming the first bowler in Test history to claim 700 wickets, with the fourth Test starting on 26 December.

"I'd like to go out on top. I want to go out on my terms, I'd like to think I've earned that right," Warne said.

He said he would complete the final two years of his contract with county side Hampshire but will quit state cricket.

Warne is expected to take up a post as television commentator with Australia's Channel Nine.

Speaking at a packed media conference he revealed he would have retired in 2005 had Australia won the Ashes in England.

"There was a burning ambition in the team to win the Ashes back. I saw how much we all hurt after that," he said.

"It was a mission of mine no matter how long it took to get that urn back, no matter how long it took.

"I think you can tell by the way we've played this series and the way I've gone out there and bowled that I've been pretty determined."

I've played with some once-in-a-generation players and we've achieved some special things

Shane Warne

Although he confirmed he would finish his contract with Hampshire, Warne said that he would cease playing for Victoria and club side St Kilda in Melbourne.

Some reports have suggested fast bowler Glenn McGrath might follow Warne into retirement.

The fourth Ashes Test takes place on Warne's home turf, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and is expected to break the previous attendance records of 90,800 for a single day and 350,354 for the whole match.

The fifth and final Test begins in Sydney on 2 January.

Warne, who was named one of Wisden's five cricketers of the century in 2000, became the first ever bowler to reach 600 wickets during the 2005 Ashes series.

He has 25 more Test scalps than his nearest rival, Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, although he has played 33 more games. McGrath is next in line with 555.

Warne has played 143 Tests since his debut against India in 1992.

606: DEBATE
MM

It was not until 1993 that Warne was considered world class, when his first ball in an Ashes series bamboozled England's Mike Gatting at Old Trafford.

His best figures came against England in Brisbane in 1994, when he took 8-71 and he has 186 English wickets in 34 Ashes Tests, including 40 wickets in the 2005 series.

Warne is considered one of the finest leaders never to captain Australia but off-field distractions played a part as he was passed over for the job.

Despite his many brushes with authority, though, Warne insisted he has no regrets about his illustrious career.

"You go through various ups and downs but I never dreamt my cricket career could go as well as it has," he said.

"I've played with some once-in-a-generation players and we've achieved some special things."

He named Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar as his toughest opponents and this month's Test victory over England in Adelaide as a career highlight.

SEE ALSO
Warne in photos
20 Dec 06 |  Cricket
Why Warne is a great
20 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Cricket stars hail wizard Warne
20 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
England were ready - Collingwood
20 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Australia aim for Ashes whitewash
19 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Ruthless Aussies regain the Ashes
18 Dec 06 |  The Ashes


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