SHANE WARNE may have played his last competitive game of cricket if his Melbourne Stars do not make the finals of the Big Bash League.
Warne has been suspended for one match and fined $4500 for his altercation with Melbourne Renegades all-rounder Marlon Samuels.
Nursing a suspected fractured eye socket, a disillusioned Samuels was holed up in his hotel room on Monday, with the Renegades wondering why their key import had become the centre of a pack attack in the BBL.
Already verbally attacked by rival coaches Darren Lehmann and Darren Berry in recent weeks over the legality of his faster delivery, Samuels is now dealing with the fall-out of a heated confrontation with Warne during the Renegades' thumping win over Stars on Sunday night.
As Warne was handed his suspension and faced the prospect of having played his final game, Samuels's injury was assessed at Epworth Hospital on Monday, having top-edged a fast ball from Sri Lankan paceman Lasith Malinga through the grill of his helmet. He had retired hurt on 17.
However, it was his earlier spat with Warne that had the cricketing world talking.
Warne faced four charges at a Cricket Australia hearing on Monday. His suspension means he misses the crunch clash against the Thunder at the MCG. The Stars must win that last home-and-away match to make the semi-finals.
Stars chief executive Clint Cooper was uncertain whether cricket's greatest leg-spinner would play on next year.
''It's a year-by-year discussion obviously with a guy who is 43, turning 44,'' he said.
Samuels has also been asked to explain his behaviour by CA, having been charged with making inappropriate physical contact. The feud was sparked when Samuels, while bowling, physically impeded the progress of David Hussey by grabbing his shirt as he turned for a second run.
Hussey was angered by Samuels's action, which the West Indian tried to downplay.
When Samuels was batting, Warne confronted the Jamaican, wagged his finger in his face and said: ''F-- you, Marlon.''
In the next over, an underarm throw at the stumps from Warne struck Samuels on the body, prompting the West Indian to throw his bat in the air in disgust.
The umpire was forced to intervene.
The story The last knock: future uncertain after Warne's big bash with Samuels first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.