Shane Warne has re-opened old wounds with Steve Waugh, labelling him the ‘most selfish’ cricketer he ever played with.
In an excerpt for his new autobiography, set to be released this week, Warne opened up about feeling ‘let down’ by Waugh in 1999.
The Test captain dropped Warne for the fourth Test in the West Indies, even though he was vice-captain.
“I was vice-captain and bowling pretty ordinary and Tugga [Waugh] opened the selection meeting between the two of us and Geoff Marsh, the coach, by saying, ‘Warney, I don’t think you should play this next Test,” Warne writes.
“Silence. ‘Er, right,’ I said. ‘Why?’ ‘I don’t think you’re bowling very well, mate.’ ‘Yes… fair call,’ I admitted. ‘My shoulder [after surgery] is taking longer than I thought but it’s close now. The feel is slowly coming back and then the rhythm will come, mate. I’m not worried.'”
Warne said Marsh and Allan Border both advised Waugh to stick with the legendary leggie, but the skipper wouldn’t back down.
“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 writes
“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.
“Steve Waugh was the most selfish player I ever played with and was only worried about averaging 50.
“It was about a lack of loyalty. Pretty childish, I know, but that’s the way it was.”
Warne opens up on how he thought Waugh changed as a teammate and friend once he became captain.
“He became a completely different person when he took over as captain… It wasn’t that he dropped me. I have no issue about being dropped if I’m not performing; if you don’t perform, out you go.
“But there was more to it than my performances – I think it was jealousy.
“He started to niggle away, telling me to look at my diet and spend more time on deciding what sort of person I wanted to be in my life, how to conduct myself – that sort of stuff. I said, ‘Mate – worry about yourself.”