Shane Warne, currently gearing up to lead Melbourne Stars in the second season of the Big Bash League, said he could consider coming out of retirement for the Ashes tour next year, if a proposal was put forward by Michael Clarke, the Australian captain.
"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," said Warne, who retired following Australia's 5-0 Ashes win in 2006-07, to The Daily Telegraph.
Australia's form has been patchy since they were dethroned as the No. 1 Test team in November 2009. They had an opportunity to reclaim that spot and give Ricky Ponting a fitting farewell, but South Africa crushed them by 309 runs in Perth to win their second consecutive Test series on Australian soil to reinforce their position at the top of the Test rankings.
Australia play three Tests against Sri Lanka to complete their summer, following which they travel to India in March for a four-Test series, before the much anticipated Ashes rivalry shifts to England in July 2013.
Warne, who has played competitive Twenty20 cricket since retirement, believed he was ready for a return if called. "If you asked me 'Can I come out and play a Test match tomorrow?' I'd have absolutely no doubt I could rip them out of the rough and turn them square, all that sort of stuff," said Warne.
"But playing international cricket is a huge commitment. Playing Twenty20 is different. You're only bowling 24 deliveries, sometimes you might only bowl eight, sometimes 12. It depends on what the game needs. You don't have to be prepared as you do for a Test match, to bowl 60 overs in a match."
Warne, 43, also felt it was important for Australia to identify their resources ahead of the Ashes. "Especially with back-to-back Ashes coming up next year, it could be a 12-month thing where you take three spinners with you and say, 'Righto, work with these spinners and see how you go for 12 months'. That's a different kettle of fish. I'm definitely not asking for Michael Clarke to come out and say that," said Warne.
Warne was previously linked with a possible return to international cricket before the Ashes series in Australia in December 2010.