Are you serious, Warnie?
Shane calling Steve Waugh selfish yet again seems too strong an accusation directed at a man who batted with great determination
The time hasn't felt right to release my life story — until now. I'm proud to announce I will be releasing my autobiography called 'No Spin'. It's a brutally honest account of my journey in my own words & it's coming out in Oct 2018." What's he talking about, I wondered when I read this tweet by Shane Warne recently. For, what was My Own Story, which he wrote in 1997, about? Or, Shane Warne My Autobiography that was published in 2001?
Since Warne leads a roller coaster-like life even after retirement, any book on the master leg-spinner gets outdated very soon. But a lot of his life story has been written.
Excerpts from Warne's new book were released earlier this week. "The most selfish player I ever played with, and was only worried about averaging 50," Warne wrote about Steve Waugh. It's not the first time that Warne has had a crack at Waugh. The selfish jibe was made in 2016 on the I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here TV show as well.
Let it be stressed that Warne had also brought up his axing from the team for the fourth Test against Australia at Antigua in 1999 before. Obviously, he has held that grudge for long. Waugh can be accused of not having enough faith in him for that crucial 1999 Test and Warne was someone who always gave his best for him and the team. Warne also says in the book that Waugh was a friend. Now, should friendship come into it at all? Warne probably is not aware of the story about Doug Walters getting dropped by Ian Chappell, who led Australia on the 1972 tour to England.
Like against the West Indies in 1999, Australia stood a chance to square the series 2-2 in the final Test at the Oval. Walters had scored just 54 runs in seven innings across four Tests. He was also a mate of the captain, but he was dropped. A senior Australian correspondent, who knew how close Walters and Chappell were, expressed shock over Walters getting dropped by a good friend. Chappell looked at the reporter and told him that if he was surprised at the call, he didn't know him too well. Walters took his exclusion well and didn't make a fuss.
Australia ended up winning the Test to square the series. That's not the only reason why the game was historic. For the first time in 95 years, a New South Wales player was not included in an Australian playing XI. The great thing about cricket-following is that one can easily refer to scorecards, and the one for the Antigua Test of 1999 will show that Australia won by 176 runs without the presence of Warne and thus retained the Sir Frank Worrell Trophy. Warne had claimed just two wickets in the three earlier Tests and Waugh's concerns while on his first Test tour as captain can be understood.
Australians love reminding the rest of the cricket world that the team comes before self and they'd be the first to criticise a player from another country who is not an out and out team man. Hasn't Warne given us the impression that he ought to have taken that dropping in his stride better as a thorough team player? Coming back to Warne calling Waugh selfish, it's a huge comment to make and I am not sure whether cricket fans will agree with Warne, although he was ringside at a time when Waugh led a near-invincible Australian team. Should being ultra determined at the crease while trying to see off the most vicious of bowlers be viewed as being selfish?
Warne has also slammed Waugh for his obsession with the baggy green cap. He makes a fair point when he said wearing the cap at Wimbledon 2001 to cheer fellow Aussie Pat Rafter in his final against Goran Ivanisevic, was ridiculous. Interestingly, Warne along with Glenn McGrath was seen with Waugh at SW19 that day in July. McGrath wore the baggy green as well, while Warne was happy to wear a cap that had the logo of his favourite shades.
Purists never tire of saying that a cricketer should be always be smartly attired. Deciding to keep wearing a torn baggy green cap at one point of time didn't exactly do justice to that line of thought. And Waugh, a traditionalist in every sense, should have known better. I'm sure Warne's new book has a lot more gripping episodes than what he has mentioned in his earlier two autobiographical works. The book will be promoted rigorously and there could be more controversial topics that will be highlighted to lure prospective buyers.
"I hope you will enjoy the read and understand what makes me tick and understand me a little more too," he said in another tweet. Since we've spent years trying to figure out Warne's spin and other turns (sorry, Ramachandra Guha, for stealing the splendid title of one of your fine books), we'll give it another shot through Warne's latest tryst with book writing.
mid-day's group sports editor Clayton Murzello is a purist with an open stance. He tweets @ClaytonMurzello Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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