SHANE WARNE could be back at Hampshire within days after news that Australia's tour to Zimbabwe might be abandoned.

The ICC has announced that it will hold an emergency board meeting, in the form of a telephone conference, tomorrow to decide whether the two scheduled matches between Zimbabwe and Australia should be stripped of their Test status.

It follows news that Malcolm Speed, its chief executive, had flown to Zimbabwe only to be snubbed by the Zimbabwe cricket Union.

Australia's cricketers, including Warne, are likely to leave Zimbabwe rather than hang around for an unofficial, meaningless series if the two matches between the countries, scheduled to begin on Saturday, have their Test status revoked.

The situation leaves Hampshire waiting to see whether their charismatic captain could yet return sooner than expected.

Leg-spin legend Warne, pictured above, missed the championship win at Yorkshire and the one-day defeat against Lancashire, but was also expected to be unavailable for the National League match with Gloucestershire at Bristol this Sunday, as well as next week's C & G Cup match also against Gloucestershire.

Chairman Rod Bransgrove said Hampshire could do little but wait for the result of tomorrow's ICC decision.

He said: "We are waiting with anticipation like everyone else, but it is too early to say how it might affect us."

Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland has hinted strongly that the team will leave if the matches lose their Test status.

The matches will lose their Test status if seven of the ten ICC directors, representing each Test-playing country, supports such a move.

Tomorrow's ICC conference could also affect the availability of Hampshire's Aussie batsman Michael Clarke, who was due to play in a one-day series in Zimbabwe in June, with Michael Dighton the planned replacement at The Rose Bowl.