EXPLAINER: Shane Warne's ugly feud with Steve Waugh

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·6-min read
Shane Warne (pictured right) and Steve Waugh (pictured left) before a Test match.
Shane Warne (pictured right) and Steve Waugh (pictured left) have shared a tumultuous relationship. (Getty Images)

Shane Warne and his former captain Steve Waugh have long shared a tumultuous relationship and the spin king’s latest sledge at ‘Tugga’ has poured more fuel on the fire.

Waugh embodied the Australian cricket spirit of grit and hard-work during his reign over a successful period in the nation’s sporting history.

He debuted for Australia in 1985 and took over as captain in 1999. He played 168 Test matches and amassed 10,927 runs at an average of 51.06.

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He led Australia in 15 of the world-record 16 consecutive Test wins and also won the 1999 ODI World Cup.

While Warne was a significant part of Waugh’s career and success as captain, the pair have not seen eye-to-eye for some time after a checkered past.

Here is a look back at the tension shared between two of Australia’s greatest ever cricketers:

Waugh drops Warne from Test team

Warne’s issue with Tugga has long been public knowledge but appears to stem from his anger at being dropped from the Test team in 1999.

In 2016, Warne blasted his former teammate as "the most selfish cricketer I've played with", still holding a grudge after Waugh axed him for the final Test on a tour of the West Indies 21 years ago, a game Australia won.

Warne, speaking on an episode of reality TV show "I'm a Celebrity. Get Me Out of Here", on which he was a contestant, said he was "really disappointed" at the decision to drop him and he felt like Waugh was making him "a scapegoat".

"I don't like Steve Waugh for a lot of other reasons, but that was the reason," he said on why they fell out.

But Waugh just replied: "I'm not justifying his comments with an answer."

But he opened up on the issue later, explaining the decision to drop Warne was tough but part of his job as Australian captain.

"To be fair, not only Shane, any player I had to tell was dropped wasn't easy," he told Triple M commercial radio.

"As a captain that is the hardest thing to do. But it's also why you're captain, because people expect you to make the tough decisions for the benefit of the team.

Steve Waugh celebrates and hugs Shane Warne to celebrate the wicket of Chris Carins of New Zealand.
Steve Waugh hugs Shane Warne to celebrate the wicket of Chris Carins of New Zealand. (Nick Wilson/Getty Images)

"You have got to do that at times and you have got to be prepared not to be liked by everyone."

Waugh has previously admitted the decision to dump Warne cost him his friendship with the spin king, but in his book "The Meaning Of Luck" said it helped shape and define him as a captain.

‘Should have backed me’: Warne

Warne also had a dig at his former captain in his autobiography ‘No Spin’.

Speaking of the same incident in 1999, Warne claimed Waugh went against selector Allan Border’s advice and chose to drop him from the aforementioned Test.

Warne claims this was the moment he lost some respect for his captain.

“I lost a bit of respect for him after that,” Warne wrote. “I believe he should have backed me — as I always believe the art of captaincy is to support your players and back them every time.

Shane Warne and Steve Waugh celebrate and lift the trophy.
Shane Warne and Steve Waugh celebrate after Australia's series win over the West Indies. (Hamish Blair/ALLSPORT)

“This gains the respect from the players and makes them play for you. He didn’t, it’s history, but I never found it easy with him after that.”

Warne also claimed Waugh came back too soon from injury after a horror collision with fast-bowler Jason Gillespie.

While Warne said he did have some resentment towards being dropped, he also claimed Waugh was not ready to return to the Test arena.

He labelled Waugh’s ambition to come back as one of the reasons he labelled him “selfish” and put it down to his ambition to average 50.

Warne slams Waugh’s Baggy Green obsession

As much as the spin king cherished playing cricket for Australia, Warne never actually liked wearing the Baggy Green.

He never hid his grievances at being forced to wear the Baggy Green on the field and Waugh’s insistence on wearing the cap rubbed Warney the wrong way.

The 50-year-old preferred to wear the white floppy hat because it was more comfortable and protected him from the sun.

Warne previously slammed Waugh after the former Australian captain insisted his players all wear the Baggy Green for the first hour of a Test match, describing the policy as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘silly’.

 Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh and Shane Warne watch on as Patrick Rafter plays at Wimbledon.
Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh and Shane Warne watch Patrick Rafter in action against Goran Ivanisevic during the Men's Final's at Wimbledon. (Gary M. Prior/ALLSPORT

This extended to an incident when he refused to wear the cap during a team outing to watch Pat Rafter in the Wimbledon final during the 2001 Ashes tour of England.

“I didn’t need to wear it to bloody Wimbledon, which was just sickening, that they’d wear it to Wimbledon,” Warne said on Saturday.

“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.”

Warne doubles down on ‘selfish’ Waugh

The most recent incident involved Warne sledging Waugh over his horrible runout record on Twitter.

Aussie cricket fan Rob Moody - famous for his iconic YouTube channel ‘Robelinda’ - uploaded a video featuring a staggering 104 runouts involving Waugh at international level (a world record).

Even more staggering is the fact 73 of them involved Waugh’s batting partner being dismissed.

Warne got wind of the incredible stat and couldn’t help but ridicule Waugh, despite trying to water down the sledge claiming he does not ‘hate’ Tugga.

“Wow! So Waugh was involved in the most ever run outs in Test cricket (104) and ran his partner out 73 times – is that correct? Mmmmmmmmm,” Warne wrote Twitter.

“For the record again and I’ve said this 1000 times – I do not hate S Waugh at all. FYI, I picked him in my all time best Australian team recently.

“Steve was easily the most selfish cricketer that I ever played with and this stat …”