Why Warne’s legacy hasn’t been damaged

Luke Doherty Roar Guru

By Luke Doherty, Luke Doherty is a Roar Guru

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    Who's Warney dating now? Oh, wait, you wanted to hear about cricket? (AFP PHOTO/GREG WOOD)

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    When Shane Warne walked off the Sydney Cricket Ground after his final Test match in January 2007, there wouldn’t have been a spectator in the ground who didn’t realise they were witnessing the exit of one of the greats.

    Warne is the best leg-spinner the world has ever seen and is ever likely to see.

    The Victorian was the answer to almost every problem the team faced from his emergence as a Test cricketer in 1992 until his exit at the SCG that day.

    His exploits with the ball helped fans forget the many off-field incidents, but on that day in Sydney as he waved goodbye, few if any cared about his past.

    In fact, each drama only lasted until the next bit of magic was produced with the ball.

    His ability to make competent batsmen look like park cricketers was unparalleled and while the good times rolled fans forgave and forgot.

    Warne was the ultimate people’s champion. He was the ordinary bloke capable of extraordinary feats on a cricket field, but now the public seems to be turning against him.

    Exactly why needs examining. What is so different about the Warne of 2013 to the one who thrilled us all for 15 years?

    By his own admission his career was tinged with controversy.

    In 1998 he confessed, along with Mark Waugh, to providing pitch and weather details to a bookmaker in 1994.

    In 2003, he tested positive to a banned diuretic and was suspended from cricket for a year.

    One of the shrewdest tactical minds the game has ever seen was also seen as too big of a risk to be installed as the Australian captain because of several off-field scandals.

    Yet, we loved him all the same.

    We cheered when he left batsmen befuddled with a ripping leg-spinner. We marvelled as he out-witted another with a wrong-un and flat out confused others with a flipper.

    The off-field drama didn’t seem to matter as long as the wickets kept falling.

    Now, Warne provides a modest return in the Big Bash League, gets in a stoush with Marlon Samuels and doesn’t put his name down as skipper on a team-sheet and we’re outraged?

    Warne’s career survived so many sagas that it seems odd for people to turn against him now.

    The exchange with Samuels was a terrible look for the game.

    This season, viewers were taken closer to the action than ever before and got a little more than they bargained for.

    Is it really the first time a player has let fly with loose lips on the field?

    Why are we surprised when Warne does something out of the ordinary in 2013 when it hardly left us stunned a decade ago?

    A legacy can only be damaged if behavioural patterns start to change dramatically.

    Social media might have given his one million followers on twitter a previously inaccessible insight into the man away from the field but, apart from the loss of a few kilograms, is he really a different person to the one we loved?

    He was never going to be shy and insular in retirement because he wasn’t that way during his career.

    The magic might’ve stopped or at least got less frequent, but perhaps we have changed while Warne has stayed the same.

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    The Crowd Says (34)

    • January 30th 2013 @ 4:38am
      Johnno said | January 30th 2013 @ 4:38am | ! Report

      Warney was just being honest, and speaking his mind. The reason why so much defensive tactics, form cricket Australia is, I think it now knows it’s botched the HP job with Pat Howard and Ivers as chairman of selectors. Pat Howard especially,.
      Ceo and HPM are 2 different jobs. The NRL ceo is not the HP manager , so it doesn’t matter has no rugby league background.
      HP is a highly technical job. A guy like Tom Moody or Darren Lehmann far more suited, or steve Rixon.
      And you think Justin Langer had some challenges as batting coach, I can’t imaging the struggles Pat Howard must have as HP coach.

      Warney like the Quade Cooper incident, struck a raw nerve, as did Brett Lee saying stuff about ex-NSW cricket ceo Brad Gilbert.
      On all 3 comments by these 3 i agree with. But I agree most with Warney about Pat Howard. At least Nucifora, was an ex-wallaby, a rugby man, and had some success in head coaching jobs.

      Pat Howard has never played elite cricket as far as I’m aware. This may enhance Warne’s reputation as he is astute on cricket stuff, whatever else others say about him. When it comes to cricket Warney has always had a very tactical mind. He would of been a good Test captain , was a good ODI captain too.

      • January 30th 2013 @ 12:42pm
        Bunny Colvin said | January 30th 2013 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

        Agree totally Johnno. Warne cares a great deal about cricket and the way it is played, so his comments come out of frustration, that a lot of us also feel, towards the rudderless Cricket Australia.

        Critics of Warne forget, we were turned over by a mediocre Sri Lanka, at home in the short form of cricket largely due to the ridiculous chopping and changing of the Australian 11. Also, as Warne pointed out, playing 2nd and 3rd choice players, as we have been in short changing the paying public and the turnstiles are empty stands reflect that the people are turning away. Will be interesting to see the tv ratings for the Sri Lankan one day series.

        Looking forward to reading Shane Warne’s letter outlining his vision for the Australian game.

        Australian cricket is seriously sick and it is caused by management over egging the cricket pudding.

      • Roar Guru

        January 30th 2013 @ 2:31pm
        Andy_Roo said | January 30th 2013 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

        First a reply to the article itself, Luke,

        I’m sure many people don’t have and never have had a high opinon of Shane Warne as a person. I certainly never have had and to say that we forgive and forget as soon as he takes a few wickets is just naive.

        Secondly Johnno,

        Pat Howard is a manager not a coach. Coaching is not part of his role and therefore his cricketing expertise is not important. His managerial skills are. I don’ think he is doing a great job but that has nothing to do with whether or not he can bat or bowl.

    • January 30th 2013 @ 6:15am
      Tenash said | January 30th 2013 @ 6:15am | ! Report

      interesting article

      have to agree.
      Don’t give 2 hoots what a sportsman does in his personal life

      But absolutely nothing can take away those magical Warney moments (on-field ones) over the years that will be forever etched in history.

      No matter what idiotic stuff Warne does off-field.

    • January 30th 2013 @ 7:43am
      Robert said | January 30th 2013 @ 7:43am | ! Report

      Warne’s image hasnt been damaged,he is still an idiot

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

    • January 30th 2013 @ 8:38am
      Christo the Daddyo said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      Luke, I’m afraid you don’t speak for me when you say…

      “we loved him all the same”, etc

      While I admired his cricketing skills and his tactical nous, he is clearly a less than stellar human being. I for one am very glad CA resisted the temptation to give him the captaincy. His behaviour (both on and off the field) did not warrant being given the highest honour in Australian cricket.

      If this is the end for Warne, it is a somewhat appropriate ending – combative, yet controversial and slightly distasteful.

      • January 30th 2013 @ 2:06pm
        Mango Jack said | January 30th 2013 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

        Agree, Christo. They made the right call giving Waugh the captaincy over Warne. Despite Chappelli constantly banging on about it, it was recognition of the importance of the off-field part of the job, for which Waugh was much better qualified.

      • January 30th 2013 @ 2:53pm
        jameswm said | January 30th 2013 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

        I think he means we loved him as the flawed genius he is/was.

    • January 30th 2013 @ 8:54am
      Matt F said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      He’s the same person he always was but there are reasons why his perception appears worse than when he was playing.

      1) He’s not playing cricket anymore (average BBL stint aside) so we’re no longer mesmerised by his genius on the field. We still remember it fondly but there just memories now. Look at the coverage of Tomic during the Australian Open to see what I’m talking about. If you’re performing well on the field/court/whatever then your off-field issues are forgotten, at least temporarily.

      2) Twitter. Now Warne is able to convey every single thought that goes on inside his head, regardless of how well thought out they actually are, all without having to leave his bed! We always knew what he was but now he gets to remind us constantly. The wonders of modern technology!

    • Roar Guru

      January 30th 2013 @ 10:43am
      Redb said | January 30th 2013 @ 10:43am | ! Report

      Disagree I think Warne has done himself considerable harm and lost many fans willing to overlook past indiscretions becuase he was such a great bowler.

      Bowing out gracefully would have been a better footnote to his career, not unlike how Barry Hall repaired his image at the Bulldogs after the Swans issues. Hall deliberately and purposefully tried to atone for his past. Warne seems to have slipped further into the cesspit.

      • January 30th 2013 @ 1:53pm
        Bunny Colvin said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

        What exactly did he say to do “himself” harm? He was making a point that Australia is playing it’s 2nd raters, getting well beaten and that the folks making all the decisions are not cricket people. James Sutherland, as CEO and Pat Howard the rugby union guy(never even heard of him in rugby to be honest).

        This football/baseball rotation system is ludicrous for such short cricket seaons. Not to mention turns off viewers and weakens our teams.

        • Roar Guru

          January 30th 2013 @ 2:24pm
          Redb said | January 30th 2013 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

          I’m talking about his antics in the BBL.

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