Sporting Digest: Cricket

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The Australian Cricket Board has cleared Shane Warne to play county cricket for Hampshire next season. The 30-year-old leg spinner signed a one-year contract in September, making him the highest-paid player in the English game. International commitments will force Warne to miss 12 fixtures next season.

The First-Class Forum has approved the introduction of spot-checks on county pitches and a change to the bonus point system in an attempt to rid the first-class game of unfair bowler-friendly wickets. Pitch liaison officers will be introduced in addition to a new weighting system for the allocation of bonus points.