Sydney: Australian legend Shane Warne on Wednesday played down comments that he could make a dramatic return for next year's Ashes series against England after telling newspapers he was ready to play if asked.
The 43-year-old leg-spinner quit Test cricket in 2007 but captained the Indian Premier League side Rajasthan Royals for four years, winning the inaugural tournament in 2008.
Now preparing for another season in Australia's Big Bash League with the Melbourne Stars, he told News Limited newspapers that he had "absolutely no doubt" he could bowl successfully at Test level again.
Warne said that if close friend, Australian captain Michael Clarke, suggested his services were needed after the Test team's recent bowling struggles against South Africa, he would give it some serious thought.
"If your best friend says, 'Mate, I want you to seriously consider making a commitment to Australian cricket and coming back out of retirement', (to) make myself available for selection, that's a different scenario," Warne said.
He added that he felt the urge to play the five-day game again while watching the third and final Test against South Africa in Perth when the Australian attack struggled to make an impact in the Proteas' second innings.
"I felt like I wanted to jump off the couch and grab the ball," he said.
"I really felt for Michael Clarke from a captaincy point of view.
"When you've got international bowlers bowling one or two full-tosses an over and half-volleys, I felt for Pup, I really felt for him."
Australia lost the third Test on Monday by 309 runs and the series 1-0, missing out on the chance to return to the top of the international rankings.
But with Australian media buzzing about a possible return, Warne, who remains Australia's highest ever wicket-taker with 708 Test scalps, took to Twitter to hose down the speculation.
"Clarification guys & thankyou for the kind words, but... I was asked 'could' I play not 'would' I play. yes, I could. didn't say I would!." he tweeted.
In a second tweet, he added: "It was a hypothetical question re if Michael Clarke asked me. Read my quotes 'I'm not asking Michael to ask me' Hope I didn't disappoint!"
Australia play five Ashes Tests against England in July and August next year, desperate to win after suffering back-to-back series defeats against their oldest rival.