AS cricket star Shane Warne and his side today recover from Hampshire's cup final nightmare a separate saga involving the captain seems to have got his home country in a complete spin.

Yesterday Warne and his Hampshire Hawks were thrashed at Lords by Durham Dynamos in the rain affected Friends Provident Trophy final.

But as the side prepared for the match Hampshire officials revealed that former Australian captain Warne may now be considering taking German citizenship - a suggestion which has already caused a storm Down Under.

Such is Warne's popularity in his home country even mention of the plan has caused Prime Minister John Howard to intervene.

On Friday the Daily Echo revealed that the county captain could become an EU-qualified player thanks to his mum Brigitte, who was born in Germany before moving to Australia when she was five.

That would mean Hampshire could then bring in another top overseas star next year to bolster their squad.

But Aussie Prime Minister Mr Howard said he would be stunned if Test cricket's greatest wicket-taker relinquished his Australian citizenship to become a German national. "I would be amazed if Shane ended up doing that, amazed," he said.

"And so would a lot of Australians. What people do with their citizenship in the end is their business, but I think, along with most other Australians, I'd be amazed."

But last night the cricketer moved to ease Australian concerns.

After Hampshire's 125-run defeat Warne said: "I am Australian, as simple as that, and I always will be.

"I'm not going to be Adolf Warne or anything like that - I'll always be Shane Warne.

"This thing has got a bit out of hand. Just calm down a little bit."