Spin legend Shane Warne has hit out at former Australian captain Steve Waugh, calling him “the most selfish player I ever played with and was only worried about averaging 50”.
In an extract released to The Times from his upcoming book, No Spin, Warne wrote, “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.”
“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,” the controversial spinner added.
On the subject of him being dropped from the team in 1999 during a Test series against the West Indies, Warne said, “It wasn’t that he dropped me. I have no issue about being dropped if I’m not performing; if you don’t perform, out you go. But there was more to it than my performances — I think it was jealousy.”
He added, “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.’
However, the relationship between the two could never be the same after the series ended.
“Disappointed is not a strong enough word,” Warne wrote. “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. I 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. 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 added.