Welcome back, Shane. It was like watching the Warnie of old on Sunday night as he let that carefully crafted veneer of calm, cool and collected respectability drop and showed us the competitive animal beneath.

Describe this image

Watching Warne gesticulate wildly at opponents and umpires alike, drop the F word, grab Marlon Samuels’ shirt and then aim a ball at his body was genuinely entertaining stuff.

I haven’t had so much fun watching a quasi-sporting event since Wrestlemania XVI where Triple H defeated The Big Show, Mick Foley and The Rock in a four way elimination match for the title.

No doubt the easily outraged will be appalled by his conduct but for many it was a welcome return of the real Shane Warne.

Fresh from a speeding controversy where he was alleged to have been driving at an insane 165 km/hour, Warne played in front of a record Twenty20 domestic crowd of 46,681 and though his team lost and his opposing captain Aaron Finch starred with the bat, Warne ensured that we’d still be talking about the clash days later. A rarity for the hit and giggle form of the game where little is remembered or savoured.

Whilst no one in their right mind would condone the reckless speeding that he stands accused of it is reminiscent of a time when Warne was never far from controversy as he dominated world cricket.

If the Stars and Renegades were playing again tonight, you could be certain they’d set another attendance record and TV ratings would go through the proverbial roof.

Indeed Warne’s shenanigans caused such a stir that a game between two Melbourne clubs made the front page of Sydney’s highest selling paper, The Daily Telegraph. Most years the AFL grand final struggles to achieve such a feat.

Critics have been quick to condemn his actions and show of poor sportsmanship and were dismayed by the lenient penalties handed out by Cricket Australia; despite facing four separate charges, Warne was fined a measly $4,500 and suspended for one game.

His adversary fared worse and will miss the rest of the T20 season with a fractured eye socket courtesy of a Lasith Malinga short ball that Samuels managed to top-edge on to his own face.

Interestingly Warne’s mates in Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann and Adelaide Strikers coach Darren Berry have also been involved in spats with Samuels with Lehmann already sanctioned and Berry facing disciplinary action.

Either Samuels is a thoroughly unpleasant chap or as these three may be guilty of ganging up on him.

Certainly Warne and Berry as teammates in the Victorian side were infamous for their tag team sledging, managing to get under the skin of even the most experienced and accomplished players.

One incident that has become part of cricketing folklore involves the “tick, tock” verballing of Michael Slater who was known for his fiery temper. Warne and Berry playing on this perception started saying tick and tock alternately suggesting that he was a time bomb about to go off.

When Slater eventually succumbed to the pressure and was caught out the two mates yelled out “Kaboom.”

The naysayers, and I’ve been one over the years, don’t understand the Australian public’s immense reserves of goodwill for Warne. No matter what he does, he is soon absolved of responsibility. It’s a unique phenomenon, a kind of reversal of the tall poppy syndrome.

If truth be told we expect Warnie to stuff up, it’s part of his charm and we love him for it. And given the litany of past transgressions, he can be sure that this latest furore won’t cause too much damage to the Warne brand.

That is not to say his misdemeanours haven’t compromised his career, many cricket experts maintain that Warne is the greatest captain Australia never had. And it was his off field indiscretions that ensured that despite his brilliant cricketing brain he would never have the honour of leading the Australian team.

He lost the vice-captaincy after yet another sexual scandal involving a British nurse and a series of lewd text messages.

What we saw during the spiteful Melbourne derby was in stark contrast to the image that Warne has presented to the media and his fans in the past three years.

He has reinvented himself as a wine drinking, school lunch making, bad joke telling metrosexual who tweets incessantly about his love for fiancé, Elizabeth Hurley and his three children with ex-wife Simone Callahan.

Ironically Warne’s twitter profile proclaims that he has “found balance and calm.” There wasn’t much of either on display at the MCG on Sunday night.

The Stars face a do or die clash against the winless Sydney Thunder tonight. A win gives them a chance of securing a semi-final spot where fans can again be regaled by Warne bringing a touch of the sports entertainment magic of the WWE to the aptly named Big Bash League.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.

Most commented

37 comments

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    • TChong says:

      05:49am | 08/01/13

      To all the critics - just remember THE delivery to Gatting, ( and plenty of others,  too).
      The mans a living legend, a genius,
      some say a messiah, but Warneys way too humble to accept that accolade.

    • barney says:

      09:15am | 08/01/13

      Go Warnie , this is show biz , Bogan cricket .

    • Grandma says:

      01:15pm | 08/01/13

      remember him blaming his mum when he failed a drug test? remember him blaming the cameraman when he sledged his own teammate? Not my idea of an honourable man.

    • JB says:

      07:01am | 08/01/13

      Just a spoilt brat really.

    • James of Hong Kong says:

      05:50pm | 08/01/13

      Welcome all wowsers.

    • Tubesteak says:

      07:30am | 08/01/13

      Almost wish I got Foxtel to see this. Or instead of going to my brother’s place for pizza and watch Argo on Sunday night I could have headed in the opposite direction to my parent’s place to watch it.

      Dang.

    • John says:

      07:58am | 08/01/13

      Jim Maxwell, the cricket commentator, is part owner of a race horse called Mr Hurley, named after Warnie.

      Just ‘sayin.

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      08:14am | 08/01/13

      I was watching this live on Foxtel, was pretty crazy to see Warne just lose it.

    • AndrewS says:

      08:37am | 08/01/13

      Probably the greatest sportsperson I will see in my lifetime.

    • SM says:

      10:55am | 08/01/13

      You’ve never seen T. Woods then.

    • SZF says:

      11:42am | 08/01/13

      And neither of you have ever seen Wayne Gretzky. Based purely on statistics and when compared to their peers, Bradman was possibly the greatest sportsman in history, but Gretzky would be second.

    • AndrewS says:

      11:53am | 08/01/13

      Not live, no.

    • Ausitn 3:16 says:

      01:12pm | 08/01/13

      SZF,

      Margaret Court, Rod Laver, Walter Lindrum or Heather McKay

      I’d pick any of them over Bradman any day

    • Tops for game says:

      02:38pm | 08/01/13

      Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor has 15 World Titles.

      Now that’s a sportsman.

    • PW says:

      08:49am | 08/01/13

      This guy was a joy to watch in Test cricket, being an absolute magician with a cricket ball in hand. Unfortunately, as we’ve known for many years, he has issues. A few months ago he knocked down some unfortunate cyclist (apparently deliberately) in Melbourne who had the temerity to want to share “his” road. Now this on national TV.

      The bloke clearly thinks he can behave however he damn well likes, just because he took a lot of Test wickets. It’s going to get him into real trouble one of these days.

    • Punching above his weight says:

      12:37pm | 08/01/13

      It already has, would like to be Liz Hurley’s poodle?

    • Lukew says:

      01:09pm | 08/01/13

      PW, how well would you go with the press up your clacker all the time?  I think it is a misconception that he has issues or that there is old form of this nature to return to.  I think this whole piece is an opportunistic shot at Warne, without substance, by someone who just doesn’t like him.

    • stephen says:

      04:31pm | 08/01/13

      Tubby 2 knocks me down off my bike mate and he be spittin’ in hell.
      (That’s if they’ll take him.)

    • jimbo says:

      09:08am | 08/01/13

      @simon from lakemba.
      Was this even better than the Police Inspector being murdered?
      Come on Punch why do you allow grubs like this to keep commenting?

    • Poster Formerly Known As says:

      11:35am | 08/01/13

      Way to stay classy and on-point Jimbo. Not that we expect much from a guy whose claim to fame is beating up Bart Simpson…

    • Max Redlands says:

      11:13am | 08/01/13

      The fact that Samuel’s has got this far with his deplorable bowling action is the bigger issue. That Muralidharan got the rules changed to suit him was bad enough what Samuel’s is getting away with is a bridge too far and Lehman was right to call him into question.

      I understand, of course, that bowling has evolved from the early days of under-arm but unless the authorities want to see the legitimization of the chucker to the point where the bowler can simply pitch the ball a la baseball they should show some balls of their own and play hard ball on the issue.

      I’m all for giving bowlers all the advantages they can get these days, given the game is evermore slanted in the batsmen’s favour (modern bats - drop in pitches) but what Samuels is doing is, as the old saying goes, just not cricket and it would seem that Warne’s actions were in response to Samuels’ interferring with David Hussey.

    • Esteban says:

      01:21pm | 08/01/13

      I believe you are correct that Warne’s actions were in response to what happened with Hussey.

      I further believe it was premeditated and rather than losing control of himself he knew exactly what he was doing which was highlighting Samuel’s short comings in a very public manner.

      A captain standing up for his team mate because he can not trust the authorities within the game to bring samuels into line.

      Despite my understanding of Warne’s reasons for his action the whole incident was unsightly and barely tolerable in 20/20 it would have been a disgrace on the test arena.

    • Davo says:

      11:16am | 08/01/13

      Am I a bit slow? Probably, but I just noticed that Warnie is wearing #23. Is that an allusion to Micheal Jordan? Maybe he should have gone with #25, one better than Kobe

    • sunny says:

      11:45am | 08/01/13

      23 might be the number of cans he can drink between Sydney and London, which although impressive would make him slightly less than half as good as Boony.

    • neil says:

      03:56pm | 08/01/13

      23 was his IDO number, he also has a bar at Crown called 23. Nothing like a bit of self promotion

    • Luc Belrose says:

      11:31am | 08/01/13

      I have difficulty understanding the fact that cricket is touted as a gentlemens game but there is always the odd boofhead (like in other sports) that brings disrepute to the game. A consummate cricket player like Warnie should know better: the gross manhandling and the swearing he indulged in will be always remembered at the expense of the tremendous success this player has had over the years on the hallowed grounds.

    • Sir Viv says:

      11:48am | 08/01/13

      Marlon should have ironed him out and got them dancing in the streets across the West Indies.

      Warnie is the quintessential 90’s Aussie cricketer. All washed up arrogance, puffed up blond tipped vanity wrapped in a short fuse (when surrounded with enough mates of course). A playground bully boy with a paper thin temperament owned by the blokey media and which ever fast food company wants to own their excuse for a soul. McGrath was even worse. Watching him sell Toyota utes with the charisma of a dead platypus almost makes Sri Lanka worth watching.

    • not in the pink says:

      12:16pm | 08/01/13

      And McGrath has a lot to answer for for having all this pink stuff invading cricket (and other sports) all the time. Yes it was sad his wife died of breast cancer and as a once off it was O.K. but it seems we have to put up with it every season.

    • Sundress In Sydney says:

      12:23pm | 08/01/13

      Yes, but he did bowl THAT delivery!

    • Esteban says:

      01:26pm | 08/01/13

      The one thing that I am very sure of is that if the situation was reversed Sir Viv would be banging on about how Warne should never have thrown his bat irrespective of provocation.

    • Michael R says:

      12:30pm | 08/01/13

      And Viv Richards couldn’t stop laughing on the sidelines too! Great theatre.

    • lostinperth says:

      12:51pm | 08/01/13

      Warne has gone from being a tool who bowled world-class leg spin to a world-class tool who occasionally bowls leg spin. It is time he retired from all cricket and went back to the UK to complete his transformation into a Madame Tussards waxwork.

      As an aside, how poor have Gayle, Pollard and Samuels been this summer. For all the hype and “too cool for school” attitude none of them have done anything much beyond a mediocre performance. Apart from having dubious bowling actions, an under 12 attitude to having to slog every ball and an uninterested and unsportsmanlike attitude whenever they are on the field.
      If they were being paid on performance they would struggle to raise the airfares back to the West Indies.

    • Lukew says:

      01:44pm | 08/01/13

      I have trouble understanding the perception that Warne is some sort of disaster waiting to happen.  The writer of this article, a self-confessed naysayer, is confusing her dislike of Warne with bad behaviour. 

      Warne has done nothing more than what millions of people do everyday.  Sadly, his private interests and activities, which should have remained private, provide the media with opportunities that are more lucrative to pursue than his peerless on-field achievements.

      Yes he is a competitive animal, that is how you become the best at what you do. He is respected by most if not all of his team mates and opponents. He was so good that people are still interested enough to continue to write about everything he does.  Good luck to him!

    • G & T ChappelI says:

      02:28pm | 08/01/13

      At least he didn’t bowl underarm.

    • 40.33 degrees celsius says:

      05:03pm | 08/01/13

      Talking of Wrestling and cricket , Shane Warne looks like the WWF Wrestling Manage Bobby ” The Brain” Heenan Or Bobby Shane “King Of Wrestling “” in Channel Nine’s World Championship Wrestling !!

    • 104 degrees fahrenheit says:

      05:06pm | 08/01/13

      Shane Warne, cricket manager in the “Superstars of Cricket ” based on Superstars of Wrestling

      Shane Warne is the Mohammad Ali of cricket

    • 104 degrees fahrenheit says:

      05:07pm | 08/01/13

      do not get your nickers in a spin about shane warne.

 

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