Shane Warne returns to play for Melbourne Stars in Big Bash League

Shane Warne will play his first match in the Big Bash competition against Sydney Thunder at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 17
Shane Warne will play his first match in the Big Bash competition against Sydney Thunder at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 17

Shane Warne insists he is in great shape after confirming his return to cricket to play in the new Twenty20 Big Bash League in his native Australia.

The 42-year-old leg-spin legend will play for Melbourne Stars in the competition which begins in December.

"It's got nothing to do with money or I would still be playing in the IPL," said Warne.

"I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I could go out there and change the course of a game."

Warne bowed out of Test cricket after helping Australia to a 5-0 Ashes whitewash over England in 2007, but he did play in the Indian Premier League for Rajasthan Royals until earlier this year.

He has shed 12kg in weight since meeting his new fiancee, British actress Elizabeth Hurley, and he is looking forward to the support from the stands from his family.

"My kids, who are 14, 12 and 10, can't really remember dad playing cricket that much," he told a press conference at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

"For my kids and Elizabeth to come out and see me playing cricket here at the MCG will be pretty special.

"I'm in such good shape at the moment.

"I wouldn't be going into this and playing all nine games (including a semi-final and final) without a sense of confidence in my ability that I can actually go out there and make a difference."

The Big Bash League runs from 16 December until 28 January, with a new city-based franchise format.

Instead of the traditional six state sides, eight new franchises have been created, with two teams each in Melbourne and Sydney.

Each side are able to field two overseas players; former England one-day captain Paul Collingwood (Perth Scorchers) will play in the competition, as will England limited overs players Luke Wright (Melbourne Stars), Owais Shah (Hobart Hurricanes) and Michael Lumb (Sydney Sixers).

Other overseas stars include one-day specialists Kieron Pollard (West Indies), Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa) and Shahid Afridi (Pakistan).

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