Shane Warne retires from BBL and Michael Hussey joins the Sydney Thunder as the tournament’s duration increases by two weeks

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Warne felt the time was right to hang up his “Big Bash boots”

Following in the footsteps of his long-time team-mate and captain, former Australia spin king Shane Warne has taken a page out of Ricky Ponting’s book and announced his retirement from Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL).

Warne had been the skipper of the Melbourne Stars last season and the franchise finished third overall, coming in behind the Melbourne Renegades and Perth Scorchers.

With Warne’s retirement, it is widely expected that Cameron White will take over as captain.

“I think the time is right for me to hang up my Big Bash boots – juggling business, family and commentary commitments across two continents is not easy,” Warne said. “I’ve always loved the game but now it’s time to observe. I wish Cameron and rest of the lads all the best for the BBL|03.”

Meanwhile, veteran batsman Michael Hussey, who announced his retirement from international cricket at the beginning of the year, has moved from the Scorchers to the Sydney Thunder and is expected to take the reigns from Australia’s Test captain Michael Clarke since he will most likely be involved in international duty at the time.

“I’m extremely excited about joining the Sydney Thunder and having the opportunity to be part of a young, energetic side that will represent the west of Sydney with pride,” Hussey said. “The team and the area have enormous potential and I hope that I can bring my experience to help get the best out of the side and develop the talented playing group that we have.

“It was not an easy decision to leave the Scorchers, but the challenge of helping a young team grow was one I couldn’t pass on. I look forward to working closely with coach Chandika [Hathurusinghe] and Michael Clarke to make sure that the squad are ready to go once the season starts.”

In other news, this year’s BBL will be spread over a longer period, as the time frame between the first match and the final will have increased by two weeks.

The tournament will now start later on in December in order to allow more Sheffield Shield cricket to be played and end on February 15.

All the regular season matches will be played during the school holiday period, while the semi-finals and final will be played over two weekends in early February.

The tournament will now last 58 days compared to 44 days last season.

“The later start to the season means that families will have a greater opportunity to come to the BBL as part of their school holiday summer entertainment,”¬†Cricket Australia’s executive general manager of operations,¬†Mike McKenna, said.

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