Cricket: Warne's comeback gains pace

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SHANE WARNE may return to Australian state cricket in a one-day cup match against New South Wales this week.

The ominous news that England's chief tormentor is anticipating a comeback from his shoulder injury follows his successful spell in a club match at the weekend. Warne, who has claimed 313 Test wickets, said it was the first time he had played in 18 months without pain.

Facing a race against time to be fit for this winter's Ashes series - which starts in Brisbane this month - he will play again for the Melbourne club, St Kilda, tomorrow.

Shaun Graf, a St Kilda team-mate said that if Warne comes through tomorrow without any problems he will probably play against New South Wales this weekend. "Everything is on target. He's feeling fine, and there's no discomfort. He bowled with no pain, so that's a bonus for him, " Graf said.

Tony Cottey, Glamorgan's vice-captain, is to sever his connection with the Welsh county and join Sussex on a five-year contract. The 32-year- old Swansea-born batsman was offered a new two-year deal by Glamorgan but turned it down.

He has scored more than 10,000 first-class runs with a top score of 203 against Leicestershire at Swansea in 1996 since making his debut in 1986.

His departure comes as a big blow to the Welsh county. Their secretary, Mike Fatkin, admitted: "We are all extremely disappointed that Tony has decided to turn down the committee's offer and leave for another county. We are losing one of our most experienced players."