In the Observer this week, Barbara Ellen, put into words what many have believed for some time. After being restyled by his fiance, Liz Hurley, Shane Warne “ looked like a complete tit”. This is, I presume, much worst than just looking like a right tit or, considering his recent trash talking, a left tit. A tit that has been left out of Australian cricket and does not like it one little bit.
For, as Ellen wrote on Sunday, “A cricketing uber-bloke, Shane was spirited away into the dark castle of Liz Hurley, to emerge resembling a Ken doll dipped in golden syrup. La Hurley beamed, while the world recoiled at Warne's newly brightened teeth, highlighted hair, Ronseal-hued skin tone, and hints of (thankfully undisclosed) ‘man-scaping’.”
You would not have missed Warne having a go at England and Australia this week. He wouldn’t let you miss it. He said Joe Root should drop down the order because Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson would hurt him with the new ball in Brisbane and that if England didn’t, “They could be crucifying him." England did just that, promoting Michael Carberry, Warne’s former Hampshire teammate to open in Perth. Carberry promptly scored an unbeaten 153, and thanked Warne for the role he played in getting him into Test cricket.
Warne also said Alastair Cook was an unimaginative captain, which Cook noted was the same thing Warne had said when England beat Australia in England not so long ago. Warne accused Ricky Ponting of being “jealous” of Michael Clarke after Punter had criticised Pup in his autobiography. “I've got nothing mean to say, or a bad word about Ricky,” said Warne before saying something nasty. “I know he beats himself up mercilessly about being the only captain ever in Australian history to lose three Ashes series. And I know he regrets and beats himself up about the fact that he – like Nasser Hussain – is the brunt of jokes whenever someone puts the opposition in, after that horrific decision at Edgbaston in 2005. So I don’t particularly want to be mean about Ricky because he’s a good guy and tried to do the best he could.”
In January, Warne got stuck into Australian cricket in general, before releasing his manifesto for the overhaul of Cricket Australia the Baggy Greens, which consisted, mainly it seems, of putting his old mates into the big jobs of the sport. Malcolm Conn, the cricket writer of the Telegraph group in Australia, wrote then that it was strange for Warne to go on about “responsibility” in cricket, particularly as he had just been through two disciplinaries in the Big Bash League. “…it appears that Australia’s greatest living former great is inhabiting his usual parallel universe, playing his ‘poor me’ CDs and sipping on sour grapes,” wrote Conn. In other words, acting like a complete tit.
On an August night in 2006, a letter was pushed under the Colombo hotel door of Mark Boucher. It was addressed to: “Mr M Boucher, SA Cricket captain.”
“It was from one of the Tamil Tiger leaders,” recalls Boucher in his book, Bouch: Through My Eyes. “The letter stated they had no desire to hurt us and that we had nothing to do with their war. But he said that a bombing campaign was underway in Colombo and that it would be very unfortunate if we were affected. He said they could make no promises or guarantees for our safety and recommended we leave the country as soon as possible.”
On Wednesday night, at the Ram Mark Boucher Tribute Dinner at the Sandton Sun, a hotel in which he has created memories and celebrated good times, the man of the moment told a story of how an Australian came to his rescue after the greatest one-day international of them all. It’s a tale that has been told in bar talk by his friends and family.
Boucher had scored the winning runs in the 438 match in March of 2006. The most obvious line you will ever read. He remembered Makhaya Ntini coming to the wicket with the colour draining from his face. “Seriously, I was watching a black man turn white,” he writes in his book, Bouch. Through My Eyes. He caught the ball sweetly and hit Brett Lee for four. He was the fines chairman. “Anti-fines got a little out of hand and the boys hit me hard,” said Boucher on Wednesday night.
“We’d been in the sixth-floor bar at the Sandton Sun with some of the Australian boys,” said Boucher. “I’d gone to the toilet and realised that I was a little ‘tired’. My legs weren’t working too well. If you know the lifts at the Sandton Sun hotel, you’ll know that they have glass backs to them so you can see people going up and down. I decided I definitely needed to go to bed and got into the lift. The lift took so long to get there that when I got inside, my legs stopped working again, so I had a little sit down. And then I fell asleep.
“For 45 minutes the South African and Australian guys still in the bar watched me go up and down in this lift, asleep. People used the lift. Had a look at me and looking at me like I was a hobo.
On Thursday, I talked to the man who found the extraordinary proof to go with his extraordinary accusations. On Saturday evening, I watched as tears rolled down the face of a man who called time on an extraordinary career. The first was a man who stayed true to his belief he was chasing the biggest fraud in sport; the second a man who stayed true to his ethics as he tried to make sure players around the world didn’t pull off the little frauds that come in the heat of rugby at the highest level.
Jonathan Kaplan could not hold back his emotions as he spoke before and after the Absa Currie Cup final. The decision to bow out from rugby was made in February. That’s eight months of anticipation of a final day, referring the culmination of the oldest provincial/club competition in rugby in the city the Durban-born, Joburg-educated man has called home since university. On October 26, 1881, Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Morgan and Virgil, and Doc Holliday, had their shoot-out with the Clanton-McLaury gang at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. Thirty shots were fired in 30 seconds in that shoot-out. The Sharks shot 33 points past Western Province in 80-odd minutes.
The Sports Industry Summit at the Deloitte building in Woodmead started off with a gentle joke and then an awkward pause yesterday morning. Imtiaz Patel, the group CEO of Multichoice, was asked by Dan Nicholl, the master of ceremonies, what he thought about the Cricket South Africa and BCCI debacle. It was, said Nicholl, the Indian elephant in the room. Patel didn’t really want to answer it, saying it was not his place nor the right time.
Nicholl persisted and Patel, who has never stood down from a fight, answered.
“It’s probably the most lucrative deal for Cricket South Africa,” said Patel, who once worked at the then United Cricket Board. “There are the rich years and the lean years, and dealing with the lean years is going to take some innovative thinking.” A gentle beginning to the answer, but he quickly warmed to his topic. “When you are dancing with the partner that has the key to the vault, things are good. There were no questions about principles then. So the question has to be asked about principles now.”