Shane Warne has added fuel to the flames of his long-running feud with Steve Waugh with a savage attack on the former Test skipper in his new book.
Warne and Waugh were two lynchpins in the one of the greatest cricket teams of all time but fell out irreparably after Warne was left out of the fourth Test in Antigua against the West Indies in 1999.
Australia were 2-1 down at the time and Warne admits in the book, No Spin, that his behaviour around the team after being dropped was poor, but claims Waugh treated him badly and was selfish.
‘I smoked in the toilet through most of the match,’ Warne said, in an excerpt of the book that is being serialised in the London Times.
‘Errol Alcott [the physiotherapist]and a few of the guys joined me in the dunny too.
‘I conducted myself badly, to be honest. I wasn’t that supportive of the team, which I regret.
‘During the first three Tests, at various times some of the bowlers came to me, grumbling about Tugga’s (Waugh) captaincy and field placements.
‘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.’
‘I lost a bit of respect for him after that. 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.
‘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 said he and Waugh clashed again after the skipper opted to play himself against Sri Lanka later that year just days after a sickening on-field collision with Jason Gillespie when the pair were running to try to make a catch.
Despite spending time in hospital with a head injury Waugh insisted he had to play and would field in a helmet.
‘I admit there was an element of bitterness in my attitude to Steve after what happened in Antigua,’ Warne said.
‘Equally, it’s my honest belief that you can’t field a whole Test match in a helmet, even in the gully.
‘As the conversation went on I got more and more facetious about it. I’d even say I was being a dickhead and looking for a bit of revenge.
‘He hadn’t backed me and now I wasn’t going to back him.
‘I have to emphasise that my attitude had nothing to do with me wanting to be captain.
‘It was all about him not playing.
‘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.’