ISLAMABAD // The former Pakistan spin bowler Abdul Qadir says Australia must bring Shane Warne out of retirement if they want to beat England in the ongoing Ashes series. "Age is not a factor, if Warne can play in IPL (Indian Premier League) I don't see any reason why can't he play in Test matches," Qadir said. Several commentators and former players publicly mooted Warne's recall to the Test team in the lead up to the Ashes, including the former England opener Geoffrey Boycott's call for him to be installed as captain.
Both Cricket Australia and Warne rejected the possibility of a return to the Test team. The 39-year-old Warne played his last cricket Test against England at Sydney in 2007. He retired from international cricket having taken 708 wickets in 145 Tests. "I think Australia will be strengthened with the return of Warne and he can still make a huge difference," said Qadir, a former Test leg-spinner for Pakistan. Australia trail 1-0 in the five-match series after drawing the first Test and losing the second by 115 runs - England's first victory at Lord's against Australia in 75 years.
"I saw that Test match on television and had (Michael) Clarke not scored a century in the second innings the margin of defeat could have been over 250 runs," Qadir said. "I still feel the England batsmen struggle against good spinners and with the likes of Warne, Australia has a good chance not only to level the series but even win the Ashes." Qadir said Cricket Australia should talk to Warne and convince him to return to Test cricket.
"For countries people do make comebacks and Australia needs Warne's expertise against England," Qadir said. Warne led Rajhastan Royals to win the inaugural IPL title last year, but his team struggled in this year's tournament in South Africa and did not reach for the semi-finals. Qadir took 236 wickets in 67 Test matches from 1977 to 1990. He stepped down as Pakistan's chief selector last month blaming cricket board officials for meddling in the selection process.