Shane Warne's interesting history with $1 million baggy green

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

As much as Shane Warne loved his baggy green and playing Test cricket for Australia, he didn’t really like wearing the famous cap.

And while it doesn’t take anything away from his incredible $1 million fundraiser for those affected by the Australian bushfire crisis, there’s certainly some interesting history between Warne and the baggy green he put up for auction.

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When bidding closed on Friday morning, the famous cap was sold for $1,007,500 to 'M.C. from Sydney', according to the auction house's website.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) was later revealed as the buyer, announcing it would take the cap on a national tour to raise additional funds for fire-ravaged communities before it became a permanent exhibit at the Bradman Museum in Bowral, NSW.

Shane Warne and his baggy green cap in 2001. (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

What many people don’t know is that Warne famously preferred to wear his white floppy hat than the baggy green, previously blasting former captain Steve Waugh for his ‘ridiculous’ edict that Australian players wear the cap for the first hour of every Test match.

"We had this ridiculous thing Steve Waugh brought in," Warne said in 2013. "It was just silly.”

"He said that everyone in the first hour has to wear the green baggy cap. I said to him ‘I don’t have to wear my green baggy cap to say I enjoyed playing cricket for Australia, I want to wear my white floppy, I feel more comfortable in it.’ He said ‘no, we’re all doing it.’ I said ‘righto’.

"So we used to do it and I used to sit there and sulk at first slip for the first hour wearing this silly baggy green cap. I think it’s fantastic and everyone has pride in wearing the green baggy but you don’t need to wear it."

Shane Warne (bottom right) preferred to wear the white floppy hat than the baggy green. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Warne was also fuming during an Ashes tour of England in 2001 when Waugh insisted the players wear the baggy green on a trip to watch Pat Rafter play in the Wimbledon final.

“The ultimate embarrassment was when Steve Waugh - we went to see Pat Rafter play at Wimbledon and he wanted the whole team to wear it. I looked at Mark Waugh and he said ‘I’m not wearing it’ and I said ‘I’m not wearing it either’,” Warne revealed in 2018.

“So the guys that idolised Steve Waugh – Langer, Hayden, Gilchrist those types of guys, all wear the Baggy Green to Wimbledon. It makes me want to puke to think about that, these guys, grown men, wore baggy green caps to Wimbledon. So I refused.

“Looking back at some of those photos, it was embarrassing to watch.”

Shane Warne (centre) refused to wear the baggy green to Wimbledon like Steve Waugh (L) and Glenn McGrath (R). (Photo by Rebecca Naden - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

Waugh was a strong believer in the importance of the baggy green and what it represented, but Warne said he didn’t have to show his love for the cap and Australian cricket by wearing it.

“I believe that you didn’t need to have a baggy green cap to say you loved playing for Australia,” Warne added in 2018.

“Myself and Mark Waugh loved wearing a white floppy hat. It gave protection from the sun. It felt more comfortable on our head. The baggy green was too tight. We didn’t like the look of it on our heads.”

But Australia's all-time leading Test wicket-taker says not wearing it as much as some players should not be interpreted as not loving it.

"I cherish the Baggy Green and love what it stands for," Warne told AAP on Sunday.

"I was not a big wearer of the baggy green ... but that doesn't mean it didn't mean everything to me.

"Playing for Australia was something unbelievable. I carried it around for 17 or 18 years in my bag.

"I thought the gesture for me to put it up there because it meant so much to me, (showed) how much it's (the bushfire disaster) touched all of us."

Shane Warne wearing the baggy green and white floppy during a match in Sri Lanka in 2014. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Commonwealth Bank’s brilliant move to buy Warne’s cap

The bank went head-to-head with 'W.C. from Gordon' in the final stages of the auction on Friday.

Proceeds will go to the Australian Red Cross bushfire appeal.

"I am delighted that CBA has been able to secure Shane's cherished baggy green cap," chief executive Matt Comyn said in a statement.

"I want to thank and commend Shane for giving up one of his most cherished possessions for such an important cause."

One of Wisden's five cricketers of the century, Warne played 145 Tests and claimed 708 wickets.

The 50-year-old is Test cricket's second-most successful bowler behind Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan who took 800 wickets.

"Thank you so much to everyone that placed a bid and a huge thank you/congrats to the successful bidder - you have blown me away with your generosity and this was way beyond my expectations!" Warne posted on social media.

"The money will go direct to the Red Cross bushfire appeal. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

Warne is one of many local and international athletes throwing their support behind fundraising for bushfire victims.

with AAP