Legendary Aussie leg-spinner Shane Warne has taken a dig at Steve Waugh, calling the iconic former Test captain “the most selfish cricketer I’ve played with”, recalling his removal from the fourth and final Test squad against the West Indies in 1999.
The controversial comments will air on the episode of Channel Ten’s I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here later on Tuesday where Warne revisits Australia’s 1999 Tour of the Caribbean and his axing for the deciding fourth Test, according to cricket.com.au.
Waugh, a selector alongside then vice-captain Warne and coach Geoff Marsh, made the big call to drop the Victorian for the final Test of the series after he managed only two wickets in the previous three matches in his second series following shoulder surgery in July 1998.
Versatile off-spinner Colin Miller replaced Warne, teaming up with leg-spinner Stuart MacGill as Australia drew the series with a 176-run win to retain the Frank Worrell Trophy.
Seventeen years after he was dropped, Warne has opened up on the fallout between him and Waugh.
“There’s a lot of reasons I don’t like Steve Waugh ... (one of them) because he’s the most selfish cricketer I’ve played with,” Warne said.
“One thing that really annoyed me about him was the one Test I got dropped, in the West Indies (in 1999), we had to win the last Test match to (retain) the (Frank Worrell) Trophy. At that stage, captain (Waugh), vice-captain (me), coach (Geoff Marsh) used to pick the team,” the 46-year-old, who retired in 2007 after taking 708 wickets from 145 Tests, recalled.
“We went to selection. I hadn’t bowled well [and] we had lost - Brian Lara batted unreal - but I felt like I was being the scapegoat, that because I didn’t bowl well it was my fault.
“We got to the selection table and said ‘What’s everyone’s thoughts?’. Steve Waugh said (to me) ‘You’re not playing’. I went ‘What? Hang on. What do you think the team should be? Blah blah blah’, and Steve Waugh said ‘Nup, I’m the captain of this side ... you’re not playing’.
“I was really disappointed with that after (almost) 10 years. I’d just had a shoulder operation. I thought the situation, of having to win a Test match, would’ve brought the best out in me too.
“I don’t like Steve Waugh for a lot of other reasons, but that was the reason I thought (there was no way that relationship would recover).”
However, Waugh, writing in his autobiography ‘Out Of My Comfort Zone’, remembers the difficult discussion differently and praised Warne for the way he handled the bad news.
After the initial chat between Waugh, Warne, Marsh and off-duty selector Allan Border, the spin king asked for another meeting to plead his case which almost won over the Australian captain.
“He pointed out he had never let the team down and firmly believed he could lift himself in the deciding Test,” Waugh wrote in his autobiography.
“I certainly didn’t doubt him, but my gut feel was still to drop my vice-captain, even though we all knew he was a legend of the game.
“Warney, to his credit, handled an extremely tough situation stoically and while I was feeling his anguish I also experienced a heavy load being lifted.
“Warney then departed, and I was surprised to hear AB turn to Geoff and me and say, ‘Yeah, you guys are right -- you made the right decision’.”