It may have just been a series of flippant throw-away ego boosting comments, but Shane Warne’s assertion that that he was still up to the rigors of international Test cricket have have generated plenty of interest both here and abroad ahead of next year’s back to back Ashes campaigns. And lord knows, we could have done with some classic Warne magic against the top ranked South Africans at the WACA over the weekend but unfortunately for the fairy-tale enthusiasts, the classic Warne doesn’t exist anymore.
There was a time when all Warnie needed was a pair of rugby shorts and a strip of cement and he was right to roll the arm over. It was a simpler time, without humidity controlled practice rooms, pressure socks, or botox.
Sure Warnie can still snag a few wickets in the hit and giggle Big Bash league
but like Samson and his hair, Warnie’s bulbous belly provided him with the strength to
prosper over five days of intense competition. Physically, it’s obvious he doesn’t have the guts, but the metaphorical ramifications of his physical overhaul cannot be ignored.
During his career, Warnie flipped the bird to conventional cricketing wisdom and the notion that Test cricketers were athletes. Warnie, was Warnie, and that’s why he excelled during his career. Warnie’s just not Warnie anymore. As a sometime professional gambler, golf enthusiast, A-list smoozing Fembot dater, Warnie priorites have changed. And that’s cool, that’s what happens to eccentric sports superstars.
Bursting onto the scene as a fresh faced 22-year-old, Warne was able to marry his two passions – sinking piss and bowling flippers. To put Warnie’s formative years into a historical perspective, he was was taken under the wing by the Keg On Legs, David Boon, and was tipped as most likely to give Boonie’s 52-beer London to Sydney record a proper shake. Warne’s failure to topple the record is one of the few stains on his glittering career.
The pre/mid/post game durry was another unique Warnism. Allegedly, the tar residue on his figures allowed the Sheik of Tweak to better grip the ball but Warne has never confirmed the rumor.
Over the coarse of Warnie’s career, training methods were dramatically overhauled but to his credit, Warne was able to maintain his weight and maintain his edge. With a surprising turn of speed, Warne usually held his own in the sprint to the refreshments table.
Efforts were made by miss-guided nutritionists and personal trainers to transform Warne’s physique. But Warne stuck to his guns, as seen above, with Warnie pioneering the lay-down-Sally long before it was the go to maneuver for exhausted Olympians.
“Shit guys! I think I over did it again. Does anyone know why they’re called warm up laps? I’m fucked!”
“Hang on. I think I’m coming good.”
“No, no I’m not. Sorry guys, I’m out. Can anyone carry me back to my room.”
While Warne may not have excelled on the training paddock, he’d give his all on the field and rewarded himself accordingly. You must remember, this was back in the day when drinks breaks were DRINKS breaks.
The post-drinks nap was also essential as Warnie dreamed up new and exciting ways to bamboozle the opposition.
While his unconventional methods may have been confusing to many, his results spoke for themselves. The man was a a magician.
And so was the tale of Shane Warne’s career. A man, a myth, a legend. Retiring while he was still rotund enough to rip in a wrong ‘un, Warne knew his time was up. Let’s hope Warne’s legacy as the freakishly talented everyman will not be tainted. Enjoy you retirement Warnie. You’ve earned it!
Pictures by Getty Images