Shane Warne will go down in cricket history as the greatest spinner the world will ever see. But, surely, his greatest feat has been in the enlivening of the game: he is a brilliant, absorbing entertainer who most cricket fans would pay to watch even standing at 2nd slip, or batting…let alone twirling his arm over. There’s no one like him.
With entertainment comes controversy: he’s been involved in several off-the-field problems with dodgy text messages, and dodgy women, and dodgy drugs and dodgy other things. However, today’s latest “Warne Shocka” involves him on the field, by a very bitter and upset Chris Adams. Adams claims Warne, with great intent, tried to “humiliate” a number of Sussex’s players in the recent (and exciting) county game. This is not good news, of course – if Adams is correct. But I can’t help feeling it’s one failed English batsmen’s cheap shot at one of the greatest players in history.
Sledging is par for the course. Some would say – me included – that the English game could do with a bit of edge to it, a bit of hard-arse play out in the middle. And as Adams admits, Warne was the perfect gentleman off the pitch:
Off the field he was outstanding and the first person to congratulate us and say what a great game it was, but I have lost a lot of respect for him because of the way he behaved in this match.
In his enthralling book, which I read a few months back, Shane mentions a Pura Cup match which had the rarity of having a number of then-playing Australian Test cricketers. (not got the book at hand – perhaps someone can fill in details if they know the players concerned). These Test cricketers had obviously become great mates over a number of years – and yet, the match itself was played harder and with greater intensity than a Test match. I think that sums up today’s storm in a tea-cup, unless Warne did indeed cross the “decency boundary” and went too far (but we’ll never know).
For once, the BBC almost jump off the fence to make a scathing remark. But they didn’t. So I’m interpreting it for them:
Adams, 32, played a handful of games for England in the late 1990s. Warne, 35, has a world record 583 Test wickets and will aim to add to that tally when the Ashes series starts at the end of July.
Precisely: Adams, grow up and grow some testicles. I’m sure Matt Prior, who is a potential ‘keeper for England this summer, will in retrospect be thankful of Warne’s “outburst”: he knows what to expect if he makes it to the Test arena! County cricket is still weak, and harbours weak individuals. Crack on, Warney.