Melbourne, May 20 : Australian captain Ricky Ponting has ruled out leg-spinning great Shane Warne's return for next year's Ashes series against England, by saying he doesn't believe the latter is plotting a Test comeback.
Warne, who has claimed 14 Indian Premier League wickets at an average of 18.78, is reported to have suggested that if Ponting wanted him back, he would give it serious consideration.
"If Australia really needed me and there was no one else around, and Ricky thought I could do the job, you would weigh up the options," said Warne, who will turn 40 just after the fifth Ashes Test.
"If Stuey MacGill fell over and broke his leg, and there were no other spinners around, and Ricky came out and said, 'Mate, can you please help us out for this one-off tour? We need you', that is something I would weigh up," the 38-year-old was quoted by Fox Sports, as saying.
Ponting, however, is virtually certain that Australia has seen the last of Warne.
The Test skipper has endorsed Stuart MacGill, fresh from taking 4-79 and 3-50 in a tour match against a Jamaican XI in the West Indies, as Australia's probable 2009 Ashes spinner.
"If his body stays right, there is no doubt that he is the best wicket-taking spinner in Australia," The Australian quoted Ponting, as saying.
"So, if he keeps himself fit and has the desire and passion to keep playing cricket, then I'm pretty sure he would be good enough to get the Ashes' job done," Ponting added.
Rain ultimately thwarted Australia from making a winning start to its tour with Ponting's side just 31 runs short of victory when bad weather forced play to end some 90 minutes from the scheduled close on the final day.
Simon Katich capped off a man of the match performance for Australia by scoring an unbeaten 37 in the second innings after top scoring with 97 in the first and taking six wickets with his part-time spinners, including 4-15 Sunday to clean up the Jamaican tail.
Jamaica was dismissed for 194 in its second innings, with Australia 1-65 chasing 96 to win when the rain came.
After having hand surgery and resting his wonky knee, MacGill has returned to action looking much slimmer and sharper than the man who struggled terribly at the start of last summer.
Ponting is happy with how MacGill has returned and has forecast he will be a dangerous weapon in this week's first Test against the West Indies and when his side faces India later this year.
"Full credit to him. He looks a lot fitter and has obviously lost a lot of weight," Ponting said. "Last year he really battled but he is moving around a lot better now."
Story first published: Tuesday, May 20, 2008, 14:29 [IST]
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