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Warne queries coach's Ashes 'boot' camp

"I think it is one of John's wonderful, mastermind things that keeps everyone stumped," he said.

india Updated: Aug 11, 2006 17:08 IST

Champion leg-spin bowler Shane Warne has queried the timing of the Australian cricket team's pre-Ashes training camp in outback Queensland later this month which conflicts with his commitments with English county Hampshire.

Warne has reluctantly agreed to return home from England for the three-day "boot" camp, devised by national coach John Buchanan ahead of November's home Ashes series with England.

But Warne indicated he was not keen on returning to Australia this month while Hampshire is in the running for the English county championship.

"The Ashes will not start until November 23, it is three months away until the Ashes start so it is early, very early for a camp, but that is what John wants to do," Warne told Channel Nine on Friday.

"I think it is one of John Buchanan's wonderful, mastermind things that keeps everyone stumped ... and, well, who knows, we all have to be there," Warne quipped.

Australia's campaign to regain the Ashes, lost in England in 2005, gets underway in Brisbane on November 23 but before then the national one-day side, without Warne, is set to play a tournament in Malaysia and Singapore next month before October's Champions Trophy in India.

The training camp will be the first time the Australian team has been together since April's tour of Bangladesh.

Warne told The Guardian newspaper in London this week that he was likely to miss two of his third-placed team's remaining five first division matches if he attended the camp.

But Cricket Australia wants all contracted players to be at the camp, which would force Warne to miss Hampshire's matches against fifth-placed Warwickshire and second-placed Sussex.

The world's top Test wicket-taker, leading Hampshire's bid for a first championship title in 33 years, wants to be back in England to face Sussex on August 31.

"Realistically, I'm asking that I can be released early and get back for Sussex," Warne told The Guardian.

"Of the two it's preferable that I miss Warwickshire."

Buchanan hopes the camp will help Australian squad members shut out the distractions that put them off their game in Englandin 2005.

The details of the outback training camp are secret but Buchanan said it was the first chance since he took over as coach in 1999 for all 25 contracted players to come together for a substantial bonding session because of the rare, extended break between overseas tours.

"The underlying philosophy is about taking all of us outside our comfort zone and then seeing how we respond to that, individually and collectively," he said Friday.

"The means to get there is secretive and that's where it remains."

First Published: Aug 11, 2006 16:53 IST