Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne has not only renewed his decades-old feud with former 1999 World Cup-winning captain Steve Waugh, but also revealed his admiration for Douglas Jardine, the cricketer who captained England during the controversial Bodyline series back in 1932-33. In his new book, No Spin, Warne said that he believed Jardine was among the best captains to have played the game. Warne, who has 708 Test wickets to his name, wrote, “Douglas Jardine, of course, for what he achieved against Bradman and having the courage to change the game’s parameters.”
Jardine, considered an upper class Englishman, is generally regarded as a villain in Australian cricketing circles. His tactics of instructing fast bowlers, led by Harold Larwood, to aim at batsmen’s bodies — in a bid to curb run machine Donald Bradman — provoked anger amongst the host nation at the time.
Jardine’s tactics worked and England won the series 4-1 but Australians regarded it as unsporting and it strained relations between London and Canberra.
He was mercilessly hounded by Sydney crowds, including a famous taunt “leave those flies alone Jardine, they’re the only friends you’ve got”.
But Warne, who called for Australia to use Bodyline fast-ball tactics against England last year, backed the captain.
Further, he criticised his former captain Steve Waugh in his book, calling him “selfish”.
Warne said he was disappointed when Waugh dropped him in the fourth Test in Antigua in the West Indies in 1999.
“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, its history, but I never found it easy with him after that.”
He accused Waugh if being more focused on his average than the team’s result. “Steve Waugh was the most selfish player I ever played with and was only worried about averaging 50,” he added. “It was about a lack of loyalty. Pretty childish, I know, but that’s the way it was.”
(With AFP inputs)