Shane Warne the cricket brain has often fought a losing battle against Shane Warne the sideshow.
But Warne’s forecast regarding England skipper Alastair Cook’s captaincy will be his overriding legacy this Ashes summer.
“If Australia play well and he (Cook) continues to captain the way he does. I think England are going to lose the series,” said Warne, when very much a lone voice of doubt before England travelled Downunder.
With the scoreline reading 4-0 heading into the final Ashes Test in Sydney, Warne has been proven spot on.
Cook’s negative captaincy on the third morning at the MCG was case in point, as he let Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon put on 40 runs for the final wicket and give Australia a crucial boost.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan has since accused Cook of “going backwards” and England of being “timid” and “attritional”, joining a growing number of critics.
However, during the winter, Warne was slammed for his repeated criticism of the England captain’s methods as the Australians crumbled to a 3-0 series defeat in the UK.
The spin king was accused of making things personal against Cook and showing obvious bias towards his mate, Australian skipper Michael Clarke.
Warne came out swinging again in early November, while England were preparing for the return Ashes in Hobart.
He insisted there was no agenda behind his stinging critique of Cook’s captaincy, but that because of his negative style, England were sitting ducks.
All the while, most pundits were predicting a fourth-straight series win for England.
“Cook can be negative, boring, not very imaginative … he lets the game drift,” said Warne.
“He waits for it to come to him … he needs to be more imaginative. I don’t think he can captain like that.”
Warne’s comments were for the most part presented as “there he goes again” and Cook dismissed them as “old news”.
Despite all his celebrity trappings, Warne knows cricket.
He insisted before the series that he wasn’t “the only one who thinks Alastair Cook is a negative captain.”
It’s clear now that Clarke, coach Darren Lehmann and their Australian team were among those who shared Warne’s opinion, believing they could take advantage of the tactics and mindset of their opposition.