The third cricket Test starts today. But whether Australia recovers, England continues to stomp its foot on our throat, or a huge meteorite crashes into the WACA, there’s really only one sports story in town.

It’s a story which has spilled well beyond the sports pages, and it shoots off in an exciting new direction each week, enlivening an otherwise flat sporting summer.

The story is of course Shane Warne.

Warney just won’t go away. Though he retired nearly four years ago now, at the end of the corresponding Ashes series, his legend just keeps growing. When Warne retired, he described his cricket career as a “journey” about 27 times. Well, if cricket was a journey, retirement has been a nonstop trip aboard Virgin Galactic. And clearly, he’s loving it.

Mix liquid paper with Easy-Off BAM and Slats's teeth might end up as white as Warney's too

Warne, post retirement is - in no particular order - a TV presenter, a poker player, a serial philanderer, the frontman of the Shane Warne Foundation, a Maccas burger salesman, a Channel Nine commentator and so much more.

The gloves and the cheese are actually made out of the same stuff. Photo: Damian Shaw

Warne has something like 20 business and charitable entities to whom he is answerable. He has an office in the main street of Brighton (the Melbourne suburb where also lives) and has a terrific PR who seems to run his life. Her motto is probably something between “idle hands do the devil’s work” and “all work and no play makes Shane a dull boy”. Bottom line, Shane is busy. But not so busy he can’t hang out with his rich mates.

The king of spin with the king of chin. Plus the obligatory ladies.

Even when Warne does something really, really everyday, like lending his mate his $450,000 yellow Lamborghini Gallardos, something newsworthy happens. Touring English batsman Kevin Pietersen picked up a $239 fine for speeding on the Great Ocean Road, a similar number to his run tally in the Adelaide Test.

What seems to be the problem, officer? Picture: AFP

When Warne played cricket, each delivery was followed by an “oooh” even if it was an innocuous ball missing the stumps by two feet. Batsmen fell for the ploy, believing that everything he did was somehow tinged with magic. Now we, the public, are the ones saying “oooh” even if we profess to hate him. Most of us have tuned in to Warne’s TV show at least once, even though it’s about as riveting as a Hart to Hart rerun with dodgy Mandarin subtitles.

Not just white, bright! Strangely hypnotic, too.

The question is why? Why is this bogan-made-good dominating summer conversation? Why does he have 250,000 twitter followers while Russell Crowe, who is arguably much more famous worldwide, has 115,000?

My best guess is that Warne still hangs it out there. No one will ever accuse Warney of falsifying his image for corporate gain, or of kowtowing to some blandified code of conduct enforced by Tyrannosaurus Sporting Body. Shane Warne is Shane Warne. Warts, sexts, diuretics and all.

He’s far from perfect, and his private life is possibly all the worse for it.

But Shane Warne has steadfastly refused to de-larrikinise himself, and in an age when image makeovers among public figures are as common as boob jobs, there’s something kind of reassuring about the realness of the bloke. Apart from his teeth, that is.

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    • Peter Oataway says:

      05:59am | 16/12/10

      If things go horribly wrong for the Australians at the WACA, I think the Warne for captain public push in the lead up to the MCG Boxing Day test will hit fever pitch.
      Just imagine if Punter gets injured and Clarke gets a pair ..cripes

    • TChong says:

      06:40am | 16/12/10

      Warneys comeback , may just be the salvation, much like Little Alfie Langer reappearing for the Maroons. Worked a treat.

    • Macca says:

      07:15am | 16/12/10

      Bring in Katich or Hussey as Captain if you have too.

      Clarke won’t get dropped. The public have been slaying him for a rubbish year despite the fact he has still averaged over 40 and scored nearly 800 runs.

    • Phil says:

      08:20am | 16/12/10

      TC I dont think I have ever agreed with anything you have written before. Would love to see Warny back in the baggy green. Problem is he doesnt need the money, he would probably prefer to stay in bed. With LH who could blame him.
      His rightly ICON status is only increased when he can have a woman of her calibre under his spell.
      Surely the teeth are photoshopped. No one and no one has them that white. That or Slats must smoke a packet of durries every hour.

    • iansand says:

      09:37am | 16/12/10

      If things go badly at the WACA we could get Liz Hurley to take her clothes off and push her into the Poms’ dressing room.

    • Fatphil says:

      06:39am | 16/12/10

      If Warney made a comeback there would have to be a sightscreen for the glare off those teeth. Is everyone in media going to have those unnatural gleamies? Are they all channeling Donny and Marie? Does anyone care?

    • S.L says:

      06:53am | 16/12/10

      Warnie is making a quid out of it all and good luck to him! His womanising is well known and yet the girls still want him (read the married Liz Hurley). How long until Simone takes him back this time?

    • david green says:

      07:10am | 16/12/10

      warne bowled himself out loosing a lovely wife and kids now destroying another family,liz take his phone off him so he stops texting as i say once a cheater always one they dont change and only care about themselves and lust that their own flesh and blood

    • Dean says:

      11:51am | 16/12/10

      warne and simone broke it off ages ago. they have been living together for the kids. also liz came out and said that her and her husband have been separated for months.

    • Glen says:

      08:08am | 16/12/10

      Well, he is Warney….

    • Anon says:

      09:09am | 16/12/10

      Warney is awesome. He’s the only one flying the Aussie cricket flag with some personality and I love how he hobnobs with the world’s elite. It’s heartwarming to know that a real “bloke” can do that. You don’t always have to be a ponce to make it in the world.

    • Adrian says:

      11:49am | 16/12/10

      YES! Warney reminds me of Anchorman sometimes but he just keeps taking care of business. King among men…

    • Barney says:

      09:13am | 16/12/10

      Warney - the best bowler I’ve ever seen and obviously very good in the leg over department as well - go Warney

    • David says:

      09:19am | 16/12/10

      Am I the only Australian who actively dislikes Shane Warne, a man of obvious sporting prowess, though little character, forever talking one line while walking another?  Is this the model for our sporting up-and-comers?

    • Dave says:

      09:28am | 16/12/10

      I like him because the was a great cricketer.

      There is politicians in NSW who do worse things than he does and no one calls them role models.

    • Pork says:

      09:53am | 16/12/10

      David, If they can beat the Poms I’m prepared to forgive our sporting up-and-comers a fair bit…
      I don’t hire sportmen to be model citizens/prefects/all round good guys (although it is nice when they are) I hire them to fight and to win.  Say what you want about Warney he fought for every inch and mostly he swept all before him.  I tell you who disliked him: The Poms, the Jaapies, The West Indians, The Pakistanis, The Indians, The Sri Lankans and The Kiwis.  I’m told Ricky Ponting is a lovely bloke.  So was Kim Hughes apparently…

    • Markus says:

      10:38am | 16/12/10

      Yes, yes you are David.
      I actually think he’d be a perfect role model for our sporting up-and-comers, as issues in his own private life aside (none of which were illegal) he was an ardent professional on the field with a fantastic knowledge of the game.

      As Pork highlighted, sportsmen are not paid to raise our kids, they are paid to entertain. And they can do that either by winning or by providing character.
      Warnie did both in spades, the current bland mob of cricketers are failing on both counts.

    • Dave says:

      09:25am | 16/12/10

      I billion Indians know who Warnie is. Shane Warne is a more famous than Russel Crowe .......world wide…........ by a long…... long way

    • Pork says:

      09:44am | 16/12/10

      I love Warney like I’ve never loved another sportsperson.  He was never beaten - even when technically he was. Irrepressible.
      Warney is everything this country grew him to be and I refuse to chastise him for it.  Shane is a week older than me and when we were kids the cricket heroes - that’s right HEROES - were Rod Marsh, Doug Walters and Dennis Lillee to name just three.  Do we really want to rake over their personal lives like Shane has his raked over. Keith Miller, while married, had a woman in every city in England but he retains his legend status because the voyeuristic media didn’t exist then.
      Now admittedly he does constantly open himself up for scandal but that is who he is.  Simone is a big girl, she can make her own decisions.  Every woman who deals with him knows what they are getting.
      Warney - and this will upset many - is moulded in the ANZAC tradition.  Not the purer than the driven snow/saintly image of the ANZACs that some now try to perpetuate but in that he is the best possible soldier to have next to you in the trenches but in exchange you have to accept that he’ll be appalling out of it.
      Give him the Captaincy and he’ll take on the Poms and show this bedraggled mob how to win AND he’ll phillander with their women as well.
      Onya Warney - I’ll never turn on you.

    • Jimmy says:

      10:05am | 16/12/10

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. I love stirring up people who hate him because they are obviously uptight, humourless, joyless idiots if they can’t appreciate the charisma and genius of S.K. Warne. The man is a living legend. I couldn’t care less who he dates/shags/texts. Although due congratulations are in order for bagging Liz Hurley he is batting way above his average there.

    • Pork says:

      10:33am | 16/12/10

      Onya Jimmy, you rule!

    • Andrew says:

      04:40am | 17/12/10

      Well said Pork.
      Getting tingles up my spine already imagining Warney coming on to bowl before lunch on Boxing Day, 90,000 odd chanting “Warrrrrrrrrrrrrney, Warrrrrrrrrrrney” one more time.
      Just hope his pre lunch spell doesn’t come after Australia are all out in an hour!

    • Phil says:

      09:34am | 17/12/10

      Jimmy Spot on. In bagging Liz, Warny really is Don Bradman in the leg over department. He certainly has talent in getting them down the members end to face a few balls.
      Peter Brock was a womaniser. I dont love or respect him any less and I am a Ford fan. He was a great driver, just like Shane is a great bowler. The fact that he still commands such a high fee in the IPL shows his prowess with the ball.
      Mightily impressed that he bagged Liz

    • Pork says:

      09:44am | 16/12/10

      I love Warney like I’ve never loved another sportsperson.  He was never beaten - even when technically he was. Irrepressible.
      Warney is everything this country grew him to be and I refuse to chastise him for it.  Shane is a week older than me and when we were kids the cricket heroes - that’s right HEROES - were Rod Marsh, Doug Walters and Dennis Lillee to name just three.  Do we really want to rake over their personal lives like Shane has his raked over. Keith Miller, while married, had a woman in every city in England but he retains his legend status because the voyeuristic media didn’t exist then.
      Now admittedly he does constantly open himself up for scandal but that is who he is.  Simone is a big girl, she can make her own decisions.  Every woman who deals with him knows what they are getting.
      Warney - and this will upset many - is moulded in the ANZAC tradition.  Not the purer than the driven snow/saintly image of the ANZACs that some now try to perpetuate but in that he is the best possible soldier to have next to you in the trenches but in exchange you have to accept that he’ll be appalling out of it.
      Give him the Captaincy and he’ll take on the Poms and show this bedraggled mob how to win AND he’ll phillander with their women as well.
      Onya Warney - I’ll never turn on you.

    • another glen says:

      10:20am | 16/12/10

      No Dave, I too share your intense dislike of Warne. To me he’s just a swaggering, arrogant, vain, overpaid publicity tart. Just about everything about him from his flourescent teeth and his Yeah-Yeah hair restoration down to his pert man-boobs and overdeveloped txting fingers gives me the creeps.

    • Pork says:

      11:05am | 16/12/10

      Another glen/Dave, before we continue debating this we need to know if you are actually a) cricket fans b) Australians and not just bored guys commenting on issues you don’t really care about.
      It is absolutely fine for the non sport loving public to hold him in disdain just as long as they don’t actively influence our sporting potential as a nation.  Nothing is worse than people who don’t really care whether we lose a cricket series to the Poms holding sway over what artillery we can use in the fight. Non sport loving members of the Australian Public should not impose their morality upon the sporting sector if no law has been broken.  Just go on quietly holding it in disdain.  This is not Fev urinating in public.  This is not NRL players involved in hotel rampages or assaults.  The police have never been involved in any of Shane’s issues.
      I’d never weigh in over - for example - Bill Henson photographing naked 14 year old girls and passing it off as art, and no one is interested enough to follow him around and find out whom he is shagging.  The art community in Australia - and maybe the courts - can decide whether his work gets viewed or not.  And another glen your description of ‘pert man-boobs’ is more than a bit of a disturbing observation on your part…

    • john says:

      10:53am | 16/12/10

      The fuzzy picture from news of the world looks like a sloppy kiss at best, no tongue action, its seems more like a kiss to the side of the cheek.
      Where is the passion of a deep embracing hug heads tilted to either side of each other with tongues down each-others throat reducing the neck width and length from jaws opening wide enough to be supported by the upper-chest. There is no arm or hand embracement above the shoulder to lock the head in a full committed juicy wet passionate delicious mouth watering kiss.
      There is no body pressing against her to push the voluptuous breasts into the higher region to share the embrace.

      All in all it looks more like kiss, kiss, by dear see you at the airport I’m off to Harrods for a spot of Xmas shopping.

    • Adrian says:

      11:55am | 16/12/10

      Sexually frustrated much there John?

    • Your name: John says:

      12:33pm | 16/12/10

      It does come across that way doesn’t it !
      I’m a trained expert in body language, I didn’t think went into too much detail. You’d be surprised what else happens if kissing is passionate enough, for example some people have a primitive saliva gland that squirts in your mouth when aroused in a kiss. smile

    • Steinway says:

      10:59am | 16/12/10

      Liz is really gonna make a mess of him. She’s calling the tune.

    • another glen says:

      11:45am | 16/12/10

      Pork, I take your point regarding the “pert man-boobs” comment. It was below the belt (above it actually ... but you know what I mean). I didn’t think, however, that this debate was about the state of Australian cricket; I thought it was about our impressions of Shane Warne, hamburger-flogging media hussy.

    • Daniel says:

      12:07pm | 16/12/10

      Who gives a rats about dopey Warne?

    • AFR says:

      03:57pm | 16/12/10

      I didn’t know they could bat…... having said that they may have done better than our top order!

    • Prince says:

      01:13pm | 16/12/10

      Aus 3/28 OMG…. Warnie pad-up!

    • iansand says:

      01:52pm | 16/12/10

      4/36 Forget Warnie - how are Thommo and Lillee?

    • Conrad says:

      03:08pm | 16/12/10

      Not a fan of Warnie, he’s a bogan icon IMO, don’t despise him though, the Hurley score is probably the best pullshot he’s played in his career ;p

      Too bad he’s about 10 years too late, although she keeps as good as a Xmas pudding though from recent photos, botox is AMAZING.

      However from the looks of the current Aussie Cricket team (who all appear to have way too much bleach or hair gel on), it might actually be beneficial to have a bogan move back into the squad to show the private school boys how to play cricket. 

      While Clarkie and Johnson were getting tattoos trying to emulate Sonny-Bill Williams, AB, the Waughs, Pidgeon and Warnie must have been laughing their heads off at the up and coming prats who make for cricketers.

      Australia desperately needs its balls back, because they’ve been in the fetal position ever since Gilly, Warnie, and McGrath left.

    • Jim says:

      07:05pm | 16/12/10

      Warnie’s latest prediction “Hurley in to bowl the bouncers on a sticky wicket”

    • Jules says:

      07:38pm | 16/12/10

      Warnie, Warnie, Warnie..

      He is definitely up for a cricketing comeback. Warne was all legend and magic even just by holding a bat and a ball… back then. His talent and experience might be the boost the struggling team needs right now.

      And, he looks far too happy kissing Liz Hurley or filming $2 Haircare ads.

    • trigger says:

      01:47am | 17/12/10

      Warnie represents Australia. On the surface he’s brash, cocky, irreverent and lacking in class. But he’s also talented, successfull and intelligent. And at the end of the day he’s harmless enough.

      Thats us.

    • Angry Dude says:

      02:05am | 17/12/10

      Warne cannot be dissed in the printed media for the proprietors are far too aligned with the business of cricket. Sharwood is evidently only too eager to perform fellacio. Looking to the twitterati we find: watching “Warnie” is like hitting yourself in the face with a brick.

    • Waynevan says:

      05:38am | 17/12/10

      If he genuinely cared about Aussie cricket instead of his own ego he would have instantly knocked the story on it head saying “I’m 41, unfit and wouldn’t last more than 5 overs”. Instead he sensed a headline and kept the story out there for all it’s worth

    • Joy says:

      06:42am | 17/12/10

      Hate Shane Warne.  Boring commentator and has no class.  Highly overrated before on the field and off.      Over it.

    • youdy beaudy says:

      07:04am | 17/12/10

      Well, we used to win before our blokes went all around the world and taught them all our skills. That’s why we are getting thrashed at the moment. Typical of Australia. No point in complaining about losing when .our aussie icons give away their knowledge of cricket techniques to the poms, indians and pakis.

      As far as his show goes, it’s a bit boring and very similar to many other formats and yes. shame about the head and the fangs. Bring him back!. well, he is a bit older now and probably not as fit as he used to be.

      But he has a great knowledge of the game and is a bit of a character which is probably his saving grace, and at least he is not gay, now that would be a shame for the ladies wouldn’t it?. Yes warnie is a legend to us all but for his cricket fans his time in the tests has finished and he is making better money elsewhere. People love him so good on him, a good well liked character indeed and one who served his country well on the field and his private life, well, that’s really none of our business.

    • Geord Webster says:

      08:04am | 17/12/10

      Good luck to Shane Warne taking advantage of his popularity - personally I prefer to hear stories about great sportsman like Ricky Ponting. Ricky Ponting and other Australian sportsman who are admired by their family and close friends rather than the media fed public do it for me. But everyone loves a scandal so looks like I’ll have to listen to Warne this and Warne that for the rest of the cricket season. Warnie would have been a legend in my eyes if he’d kept his ego in check. Quietly I’m hoping the Aussies can dig deep and prove they’re a great cricket side in spite of the shadow Warne pundits continue to cast over them. Come on Aussie lets show those poms what we’re made of Win lose or draw.

    • Judicus says:

      08:11am | 17/12/10

      Oh for God sake, he’s a cricketer, not a brain surgeon.  what the hell do you people want?  Just because he’s a good cricketer doesn’t make him intelligent, logical or loyal.  He believes his own press way too much, but he’s not doing any of you any harm.  He’s carved out a great career post cricket and good luck to him.  What happens in his marriage is nobody’s business but his and his wife, who incidentally obviously loves the life with him i.e. meeting and mixing with the rich and famous, and who wouldn’t.  Time to move on Simone, and don’t be bleating about it this time, we don’t want to hear it; you well know the deal by now.  He is what he is, and you either love him or hate him.  As a woman in her late 50’s, I like him.  Bit of a larrikin who just keeps getting in the shit, and getting out, getting in the shit and getting out!!  Gotta love that.  The teeth and the tan were a bit testing, but he’s watered those down a bit and he doesn’t look like he’s overdosed on fake tan and teeth whitener anymore.  All the blokes are just jealous.

    • Erin says:

      08:41am | 17/12/10

      I only got interested in cricket becaus of Warnie! He was such a legend.
      But now…. I’m sorry, I just think he’s a bit of a wank.  The exceptionally bleached teeth shining out of his uber orange tan sitting under his exceptionally bleached hair… Just no.  And the tv show was rubbish.  It was like watching a train crash… in slow motion.

    • GE says:

      09:10am | 17/12/10

      Why is Shane the talk of Summer? Because the media keep talking about him. What a bombshell huh???

    • CloudM says:

      06:43pm | 17/12/10

      Ricky Disappointing strikes again…..  what a true leader

    • Badger says:

      02:58pm | 18/12/10

      I don’t know why I waste my time reading this CRAP on Warnie, He is a waste of space, but being the Media In The Silly Season, now, that’s all they can rake up out of the Dross to put on the Tube for the Dungers ( Ordinary People) to watch, & I must be one of them for even watching this much of the BLAH BALH being dished out.
        Hope Liz Hurley takes him for a row with his doe with his ill gotten gains when she dumps him soon I hope.

 

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