Shane Warne calls Steve Waugh ‘most selfish player’ in new book
He thought of Steve Waugh as “the most selfish player” and wanted to “puke” at the “Baggy Green worship” -- controversial spin legend Shane Warne pulled no punches as he recalled his eventful time in the dressing room of a seemingly invincible Australian team. The revelations and claims come from Warne’s soon-to-be-released book ‘No Spin’, the extracts of which came out in ‘The Times’ newspaper.
“All that worship of the baggy green - some of the guys went with it, like Lang (Justin Langer), Haydos (Matthew Hayden) and Gilly (Adam Gilchrist), but it wasn’t for me,” Warne wrote.
“They loved it but, to be honest, they made me want to puke with it half the time. I mean, wearing it at Wimbledon! Who wears a green cricket cap to Wimbledon? It was just embarrassing! Mark Waugh felt the same. I don’t need a baggy green to prove what playing for Australia means to me or to the people who watch us.” As for Waugh, Warne spoke of the time he was dropped from the team in 1999 during a Test series against the West Indies owing to lack of form and said he felt let down by his skipper’s refusal to back him. “I was vice-captain and bowling pretty ordinary and Tugga (Waugh) opened the selection meeting between the two of us and Geoff Marsh, the coach, by saying, ‘Warney, I don’t think you should play this next Test’,” he said.
“Silence. ‘Er, right,’ I said. ‘Why?’ ‘I don’t think you’re bowling very well, mate.’ ‘Yes... fair call,’ I admitted. ‘My shoulder (after surgery) is taking longer than I thought but it’s close now. The feel is slowly coming back and then the rhythm will come, mate. I’m not worried’,” he recalled. Warne said he got the backing of Marsh and selector Allan Border but Waugh stuck to his guns and asked for his omission. “Disappointed is not a strong enough word. When the crunch came Tugga didn’t support me, and I felt so totally let down by someone who I had supported big time and was also a good friend,” Warne wrote.
The maverick spinner said he didn’t respond too well to the dropping and “conducted myself badly, to be honest.” “I wasn’t that supportive of the team, which I regret. Looking back, this was probably a combination of the shoulder issue still eating away at me and the pure anger bubbling inside at Steve’s lack of trust,” he wrote.
“During the first three Tests, at various times some of the bowlers came to me, grumbling about Tugga’s captaincy and field placements and stuff.
“I said I was backing him to the hilt and if they had a problem with the captain they should go see him direct. Perhaps because of this, I was deeply disappointed that he didn’t back me in return,” he said. Warne said he found Waugh to be “niggling” after taking over as captain.
“...there was more to it than my performances - I think it was jealousy. He started to niggle away, telling me to look at my diet and spend more time on deciding what sort of person I wanted to be in my life, how to conduct myself - that sort of stuff. I said, ‘Mate - worry about yourself’,” he wrote.