Steve Waugh's memoirs mean cold comfort for many

'Warne loves to be loved'

Cricinfo staff

October 22, 2005

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Steve Waugh feels that Warne is a fierce but insecure competitor © Getty Images
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Steve Waugh, the former Australian captain, says Shane Warne is an insecure player. In his keenly-awaited autobiography Out of My Comfort Zone he also hits out at Ian Chappell and the national selectors.

Waugh, who retired as Australian captain in January 2004 year after 168 Test matches and 10,927 runs, confirmed rumours that during the 1999 World Cup Warne had problems with his captaincy. "Shane needs constant support, encouragement and reassurance that he is the man. He loves to be loved."

Waugh has little time for Ian Chappell, another former Australian captain, who once described him as a selfish cricketer, but says he was baffled as to why Chappell didn't like him. "It might have been that I praised the work of Bob Simpson, the former Australian coach, who was his sworn enemy, or that I didn't spend hours in the bar drinking and regurgitating old cricket stories."

Waugh, 40, also talks about his brother Mark's involvement in supplying pitch and weather information to an Indian bookmaker, for which he was fined by the Australian board in 1998. Waugh said he was assured by his twin brother that he had indulged in nothing more serious than supplying match information. He said seeing Mark walk out to bat at the Adelaide Oval to a chorus of boos, after his penalty had made the headlines, was "one of the toughest couple of seconds of my cricket life".

Test cricket's longest-serving player says his sacking as one-day captain in 2002 had come three years after Trevor Hohns, chairman of selectors, had first suggested he was close to being dropped. This came after Australia's rough start to the 1999 World Cup, which they eventually won. Waugh's place in the side was saved by his match-winning century in the Super Six match against South Africa at Leeds. "I was a little shocked at how cut-throat the selectors' attitude was."

Waugh writes that when the axe finally fell, he was informed of it by Hohns in his Melbourne hotel room on the day the Allan Border Medal was being given away in February 2002. "I didn't have a problem with the decision. However, I did have an issue with the lack of man-management skills involved. Surely, after so many years playing and being the captain of a side that had been ranked No.7 when I took over and was now No.1, at least one phone call or conversation letting me know how the selectors saw the bigger picture would have been nice. The clinical efficiency of my dismissal stung me most because as a player I had always given everything."

Waugh also lifts the lid on his most famous sledging incident - his toe-to-toe confrontation with West Indian paceman Curtly Ambrose in 1995. The episode in Trinidad has gone down as the turning point in a series that began Australia's domination of Test cricket in recent times. The diluted version of what Waugh said to Ambrose would have it that he incensed him by saying: "Just you bowl." The truth is revealed in Waugh's autobiography. Ambrose repeatedly stared down Waugh during a searing spell, and Waugh, who sized up the towering quick, said: "What the f--- are you looking at?"

Waugh also dwells on the difficulty of dropping Michael Slater following his personal troubles during the 2001 Ashes tour of England. "It's funny with Michael ... in his first book I was his mentor and in the second I had become his tormentor. You can read into that what you like. I put more time and effort into Michael than anyone else at the time, except perhaps his wife. I tried to help him as much as I could."

John Howard, the Australian prime minister, will launch Waugh's book on October 23 at Sydney with publishers Penguin reportedly paying 1.3 million US dollars in the biggest advance paid for an Australian book.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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