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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 14:17 GMT
Australia face up to 'Warne void'
Shane Warne
Warne has taken 699 Test wickets
Australia coach John Buchanan has spoken of the "huge void" Shane Warne will leave when he retires.

But he believes Australia have the infrastructure in place to bring in young players when veterans step down.

He said: "Surely when you lose one of your great players it does mean that you have to rethink your team and re-look at the balance."

"[Retirements] will occur, whether that be within two, three, six or 12 months, but it heralds an exciting time."

Speculation is rife that pace bowler Glenn McGrath will follow Warne into retirement after the Ashes finish.

Damien Martyn has already ended his career and fellow batsmen Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, plus wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist could follow.

Buchanan himself will step down in April after the World Cup but feels recent changes will help develop new, young stars.

"The transition from moving the older, great players out [for] newer, younger players should be a bit easier than in the past," he explained.

"One of the significant differences that has occurred is that there are things like the Centre of Excellence program, Australia A, and we have seen the emergence of young talent."

After the Ashes finish, Australia have 11 months before their next Test series, against India, and will use the time to find a worthy spin replacement for Warne.

Their current second spinner is Stuart MacGill but he is 35 and will not be around for too many more years.

Of the younger spinners, Dan Cullen, a 22-year-old off-spinner, is already part of the Australia set-up and has a central contract but has only played in one Test match.

There is also Nathan Hauritz, 25, but he too lacks Test experience and 21-year-old Cullen Bailey, a leg-spinner like Warne who is being coached by Terry Jenner, Warne's mentor.

Buchanan conceded it may take years for someone as good as Warne, who has taken a world record 699 Test wickets, to come around again.

"Certainly from a selection point of view looking at the future, that will now be a huge void that will take maybe generations to fill," he added.

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