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Warne to retire after Ashes series

The Aussie leg-spinner announces his decision to retire.

india Updated: Dec 23, 2006 16:17 IST

The greatest wicket-taker in the history of Test cricket has called it a day with Shane Warne announcing that he will retire from the international game after the ongoing Ashes series.

"I'm going to announce my retirement from international cricket, domestic cricket, Victoria and Saint Kilda as well," the flamboyant and often controversial spin wizard told reporters on Thursday.

"It's been unbelievable — my journey and my ride in international cricket has been phenomenal."

Warne, however, said that he would continue to play for English county side Hampshire for the remaining two years of his contract.

The charismatic Australian said it was time to go after playing a pivotal role in regaining the Ashes with an unassailable 3-0 lead last week after a shock loss in England last year.

"I'm a very happy man. I probably would have retired after the 2005 Ashes had we won, but that was not to be. There was unfinished business."

"For me, it was a mission to get that urn back," Warne said.

"My time is now," he said. "I don't think I could have written the script any better."

Warne, who has 699 wickets from 143 Tests, is expected to reach the 700-milestone when he bids farewell to an army of hometown Melbourne fans at the fourth Ashes Test to be held early next week. The Sydney Test (Jan 2-6) will be the swansong to his 15-year Test career.