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'Warne welcome but must decide soon'

Spin wizard - who retired from ODIs to concentrate on Tests - would be welcome in the team for the 2007 World Cup, said Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2006 14:52 IST

Spin wizard Shane Warne needs to make a decision quickly if he plans to return to one-day cricket in time for the 2007 World Cup, Australian captain Ricky Ponting said on Sunday.

Warne, who retired from the short form of the game to concentrate on Tests, would always be welcome in the one-day team, Ponting told reporters as he arrived in Sydney after a tour of Bangladesh.

But Ponting also predicted that off-spinner Daniel Cullen, who made his debut in Bangladesh, would have a long international career.

"Dan bowled beautifully, but he probably didn't bowl as much as I would have liked in the Test match that he played," Ponting said.

"He only bowled about 13 or 14 overs in that series, but looked very much the part there.

"He had to work really hard in the one-dayers to get his first (ODI) wicket and didn't get his first wicket until his second spell in the third one-dayer.

"But he's going to be a good bowler for Australia for a long period of time, there's no doubt."

Cullen is now No 2 in the spin line-up for one-day games behind Brad Hogg, although that could change if Warne decides to return.

The record-breaking spinner, who retired from limited-overs cricket with the aim of prolonging his Test career, indicated earlier this year that he was tempted by next year's World Cup in the Caribbean.

"It would be nice I suppose to play in the World Cup, but it depends on what I want to do with my Test future," said Warne, who turns 37 in September.

"At the moment I'm retired (from one-day cricket) and I think my Test cricket's proven to be as good as it's ever been, so if that means I can't play one-day cricket any more and it will extend my Test career then maybe that's the way it has to stay. But you never say never," he said.

First Published: Apr 30, 2006 14:15 IST