Cricket: Warne faces suspension for criticism of umpire

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The Independent Online
SHANE WARNE faces a fine or suspension after being reported yesterday for breaching the Australian Cricket Board's code of conduct.

Warne, still fighting his way back from injury in the hope of facing England in the Ashes, was cited by the Australian Cricket Board's chief executive officer, Malcolm Speed, for his comments after Victoria's narrow defeat by Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield.

The spinner was incensed when his Victoria team-mate Graeme Vimpani was given out lbw by the umpire Randolph Woolridge, who was making his first- class debut, during his side's two-run defeat in Perth.

Warne clearly believed that Vimpani had hit the ball before it struck his pad, and said: "Everybody in the ground knew he hit it barring the umpire."

Warne will appear before a disciplinary hearing at a date to be fixed. Players found guilty of breaching the code face a suspension and/or minimum Aus $200 (pounds 80) fine or a suspended fine of a minimum A$1,000 (pounds 400).

Warne has used his time in Brisbane to meet up with Stuart MacGill, his leg-spinning replacement in the Australian side and to pass on any information he believes will help in securing a first Test victory.

"I've had a little chat with Stuart but I'm sure he will be his own man, which is the best thing he can do," explained Warne. "If he can bowl like he has in the first Test in Pakistan then I'm sure he'll do pretty well."

The main topic of questioning during a press conference at the Gabba yesterday was when Warne was going to return to Test cricket, a subject which has obsessed the Australian media ever since he made his first tentative steps on the recovery trail three weeks ago.

"I'm gradually building my shoulder up and we'll see how it pulls up in the next Shield game next Thursday," he said. "When they told me it could take anything up to two years to recover, I thought... I'm going to be 31 - what am I going to do.'

"There were a couple of stages where I was thinking whether I'd ever be able to play again because I haven't got any qualification to do anything else. I basically only know one thing and that's how to play cricket."

"I'm pretty happy the shoulder is coming on now, it's just a matter of when and not if. I'm not going to rush it and. Whenever I'm right and am able to bowl the required number of overs then I'll be available for Test selection."