Shane Warne

A depressed Shane Warne considered leaving Australia in the wake of his drug ban, and qualifying to play for England instead, according to a report in London Sunday Times. Apparently Warne thought hard about settling in Hampshire after he was sent home from the World Cup and banned from cricket for a year. But the bad news for England's batsmen is that Warne eventually decided to stay put, and try to regain his Australian Test spot.

Ivo Tennant wrote: "The expectations on him (Warne), the adulation and pressure on his marriage were so great that he contemplated settling in Hampshire, the county he will return to captain next summer. Warne spent several weeks in a hideaway in Europe to escape from media and supporters alike after his ban for the use of diuretics. At the age of 33, he would have had to spend four years qualifying to play for England. Finally he decided this would have shortened his Test career too much, and he was too wedded to his native country."

Until recently Warne would have had to spend even longer before he could have played for England, but the ICC recently reduced the qualification period to four years (it took Graeme Hick seven years to qualify for England after he decided to leave his native Zimbabwe). But still Warne could not have swapped the baggy green for the tight blue until 2008. As it is, he will be eligible for Australian selection again in February next year, after serving his 12-month ban.

Warne, 34, is keen to add to his impressive tally of 491 wickets in 107 Tests.