Warne using his image to acquire a huge fortune

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Melbourne, Aug.16 (ANI): He may have retired from Test cricket, but former leg spinner Shane Warne is still earning mega bucks through endorsements, a commentary career and a six million dollar annual income.

The man recognized as Australia's greatest and most controversial bowler has been reinvented as Warne Incorporated, a one-man marketing machine whose image is being used to sell everything from beer to cricket to hair transplants.

He is now regarded as one of Australia's most marketable men, with endorsements from 18 companies and sponsors including Advanced Hair Studio, online poker sites, Cricket Australia and Victoria Bitter.is latest success has been a commentating stint with England's Ashes broadcaster, Sky.

He will feature in Nine's cricket coverage this summer for two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney, as well as two Twenty20 games.

But Warne's agent, James Erskine, said calling cricket was not Warne's first passion.

"When he's commentating he enjoys it, but he's not wedded to it," the Herald Sun quoted Erskine, as saying.

"Fifty or 60 days in a commentary box doesn't interest him that much. And to be honest, I doubt many networks could afford him for that long," Erskine added.

Since retiring from international cricket at the end of the 2006-07 season, Warne has become one of the most sought-after figures in cricket-playing nations by advertisers and promoters.

He has turned to professional poker tournaments and promotes 888 Poker and a Poker Ashes campaign. He writes newspaper columns and is a spin-bowling consultant for Cricket Australia.

Warne also steered the Rajasthan Royals to the inaugural Indian Premier League championship last year, blowing the value of the privately owned Twenty20 team to an estimated 173 million dollars up from about 80 million dollars when it was created.

"He's had three or four offers in the past four weeks for a TV series. There will be a time when he has his own show," Erskine said. (ANI)

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