Sun, Aug 19, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Warne's Germanic roots crucial to passport quest

TEUTONIC TWEAKER? Test cricket's top wicket taker may have found a way of avoiding restrictions on overseas players plying their trade in county cricket

AFP , LONDON

Australian cricket legend Shane Warne is investigating whether he qualifies for a German passport so he can play county cricket in England for Hampshire as a non-overseas player, it was reported on Friday.

"My Mum was German. She came over to Australia when she was, I think, four or five," the spinner told the BBC. "With only one overseas [player] next year, it's something we're looking at."

English county sides are currently allowed to register two overseas players, but that will be reduced to one next summer.

Players holding EU passports do not, however, count towards the quota.

Warne's South African team-mate at Hampshire, Nic Pothas, qualifies through Greek ancestry.

Meanwhile New Zealand Test player Hamish Marshall is playing for Gloucestershire on an Irish passport.

If Warne obtained dual nationality, it would enable Hampshire to look elsewhere for someone to fill their overseas vacancy.

"There's been some amazing things happen here in England with people to play as locals, and all that sort of stuff, so it's something we're investigating. We'll just have to find out what happens with that," he said.

Warne, Test cricket's top wicket-taker, first played for Hampshire seven years ago and has been with the club since 2004 in his current spell.

He is contracted to the county club until the end of next season, having retired from Test cricket in January with a record of 708 wickets in 145 matches.

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