The long-standing bad blood between former Australia captain Steve Waugh and spin king Shane Warne is one of cricket's worst kept secrets.
The two legends of Aussie cricket have never been shy in expressing their dislike for one another and their feud has been reignited in a series of recent reports.
‘WOULDN’T CHANGE’: Michael Clarke spills on life after divorce
It's a widely held belief that the relationship between the two deteriorated past the point of no return when Waugh dropped Warne during a tour of the West Indies in 1999.
Considering Warne is the greatest wicket-taker in Australian Test cricket history, Waugh's decision raised more than a few eyebrows.
However, in an interview with former England captain Michael Atheron on Sky Sports Cricket Youtube channel, Waugh explained the reasoning behind the call to drop Warne.
“It was my first tour as captain to West Indies. As a captain you are expected to make difficult decisions. That’s why you are given the job. You are not there to please everyone," Waugh said.
"I always wanted to be loyal to be my players to a certain point, but at the end of the day, you gotta be loyal to the team and their performance."
“Back in those days, when you are on tour, the two players and the coach picked the team, the selectors didn’t have anything to do with it.
"I found it strange, because you had selectors picking team for series at home, but on away tours it was up to the captain to basically make the decision.
"Warnie had just come back from a shoulder surgery. I think he was put back into the team too quickly. We had both Stuart Macgill and him in the previous Test, turning the ball the same way. Lara, and all the left-handers were hitting with the spin, and I just thought it was the right decision.
“I didn’t consult too many players. I think, when you are consult too many people, as a captain, you get confused. At the end of the day, you are there to make the decision, it was a tough one, of course,” Waugh added.
The former skipper opted for Macgill and Colin Miller instead of Warne for the fourth and final Test, which Australia won by 176 runs to level the series at 2-2.
To that end, Waugh's decision to leave out Warne was justified as the Aussies got the result they were looking for.
“Looking back, I think it was the right decision, but it was also the making of me as a captain because I can make that big decision that was not going to be easy but I knew it was beneficial for the team at the time," Waugh added.
"In a lot of way, I was trying to protect Shane, because he wasn’t bowling well at the time. Obviously, he didn’t see it that way, but if we had gone on to lose on the next Test, it wouldn’t have been good for anyone,” he added.
Warne certainly didn't see it the same way as his skipper, who he first labelled ‘selfish’ in his 2018 autobiography.
Warne felt let down by ‘selfish’ Waugh
The Spin King has gone on to repeat that sentiment on a number of occasions, also accusing Waugh of letting him down and failing to back him as a teammate.
“Disappointed is not a strong enough word. 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,” Warne said.
“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.”
Warne has also slammed Waugh a number of times over his ‘sickening’ and ‘ridiculous’ obsession with the Baggy Green, which Warne famously refused to wear on a team outing to watch Pat Rafter in the 2001 Wimbledon final.
“I didn’t need to wear it to bloody Wimbledon, which was just sickening, that they’d wear it to Wimbledon,” Warne said recently.
“I actually refused, myself and Mark Waugh refused, but some of those other guys, yeah, they wore it.
“Sitting at Wimbledon in your green Baggy Green cap, come on mate, please. That was embarrassing.”