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Shane Warne's Travails -- no, not the divorce!!
« on: January 04, 2006, 04:07:06 AM »


Warne savages Smith
Jon Pierik in Sydney

SHANE Warne has laid the platform for an explosive third Test against South Africa.

In a stinging comeback yesterday at Proteas skipper Graeme Smith, who had labelled Warne a frustrated captain, the champion leg-spinner said Smith was a motormouth who would be best served worrying about his "own backyard".

The Proteas head into today's final Test at SCG needing to win to save the series.

"I am not sure but I think the way the South Africans play, I don't think the players are 100 per cent behind him so far, because I don't think they like his tactics either," Warne said.

"They would rather go about their business and play, and play the best they can.

"I really believe Smith has put too much pressure on his players and the series has backfired on him. I don't believe his players are behind him."
Warne said Smith, 24, and the Proteas had unsuccessfully tried to unsettle the Australians through the summer with explosive comments.

Smith said, in the lead-up to the second Test, Warne was smothering Ponting's captaincy, while the tourists complained during the Test that the Australians pressured the umpires with their excessive appealing.

"Graeme Smith is such a young player, especially at this level, I think he would be better off just trying to play rather than trying to be an intimidator," Warne said.

"What it has also done is put enormous pressure on his players, trying to take the heat off his players for their poor performances so far on this tour.
"As a batsman he hasn't contributed once to the cause, and let's include the ICC World XI match.

"All he has done as a captain is have far too much to say. And he hasn't backed it up.

"Really, at the moment you could put an egg on his face and it would be fried in about two minutes, and I think that's really irking him. That's really hurting him because he came in and said we won't be bullied.

"All he is looking like is a fool."

Smith has managed only 111 runs at 27.75 without a half century in the series, while his overall average against the Australians is 23.70, compared to his career of 52.41 in 39 Tests.

Warne said the difference between the flourishing Ponting, who will become the ninth Australian to play his 100th Test today, and the slumping Smith couldn't be greater.

"Ricky has my and the 100 per cent support of all his players. I am not sure Graeme Smith can say the same," he said. "He is better off worrying about his own backyard and trying to get that into order.

"He's had a bit of a personal attack on me he has tried to say I am a wannabe captain. I am not a wannabe captain."
Warne felt Smith was an uninspiring captain who didn't know how to plan for and treat his spinners.

"Someone like Nicky Boje was a very good attacking spin bowler at the start of his career," he said.

"I think because of Graeme Smith's unimaginative and uninspiring captaincy, he just thinks he'll try and stop the scoring, which lacks imagination, and that's why we have been able to declare in both games. The way he sets his field is predictable.

"It will be interesting to see if South Africa play two spinners because the conditions in Sydney do suit two spinners."


Shane warned for telling it as it is
By Jon Pierik
January 3, 2006

SHANE Warne was given a stern lecture from Cricket Australia operations manager Michael Brown yesterday over his stinging comments about South Africa captain Graeme Smith yesterday.
Warne and Smith have been involved in a war of words during the current Test series with the leg spinner yesterday calling Smith a "bad loser" and suggesting he had lost the confidence of his players.

On Sunday night, Warne was even threatened with disciplinary action by Cricket Australia for bringing the game into disrepute unless some of his comments were toned down.

As a result of these threats, Warne retracted several quotes from a News Limited newspaper story as it went to press on Monday.

Warne's thoughts on South Africa captain Graeme Smith, while juicy, were only part of what he had to say.

But a series of phone calls late on Sunday from angry CA chief executive James Sutherland and his media agents led to Warne being carpeted. CA even threatened to stop Warne from fulfilling his columnist's contract with the News Limited press.

Twice his comments were "refined" following discussions with CA representatives.

Warne's line that Smith was a "motormouth" who looked like a "fool" was removed. So too was: "Really, at the moment, you could put an egg on his face and it would be fried in about two minutes, and I think that's really irking him."

CA's long and detailed code of conduct states players must not "publicly denigrate another player ... on any aspect of his or her performance".

But with Smith and South Africa giving more than their share of lip this season, several leading cricket identities expressed surprise at CA's stand against Warne.
Cricket's most respected voice Richie Benaud said last night players must be allowed to speak their minds to ensure the game remains in the hearts and minds of the sporting public.

When asked whether he had enjoyed the war of words between the teams this summer, Benaud replied: "Loved it. It has created wonderful interest in this series.

"We had a record crowd at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) and the interest is just as great here in Sydney.

"I'm still a journalist, although I don't write as much these days, but I've thoroughly enjoyed reading the newspapers for the (past) month."

Former captain Mark Taylor echoed Benaud's words by saying there was always a place for sharp comments as long as they pertained to cricket.
"It's only when they become personal that they are wrong," he said.

"This series has been tremendous, hard fought and competitive, and that includes the banter in the newspapers."

The CA crackdown came just weeks after International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed and its president Ehsan Mani ordered current and former players to watch their mouths.

"We don't want cricket reduced to a level where it turns into a hooligans' sport and the spirit of the game is eroded," Mani said. "We can't have a situation like we see in football."

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