Cricket News by Shane Dell 25/08/03
No doubt, up until now, Shane Warne would have been well on track for his return to International cricket at the end of his current drug ban on 10 February 2004, however, the news yesterday from Cricket Australia looks likely to impact on what would normally be seen as Warne’s automatic inclusion in the Australian team late into the coming Series against India.
Cricket Australia has reviewed and implemented a new drug policy that will severely hamper Shane Warne in his planned return from exile. Previously permitted to train at both State and National level after an appeal by the Australian Players Association, Warne now finds himself banned from any and all practice sessions at these levels and further, unable to train with or be assisted in his return to cricket in any way by any player contracted to a State or the National team, leaving Warne without any hope of actively training with quality players to assist in his return to the game. Such a ban has even been interpreted to include, banning Warne from using nets or pitches that are part of local associations.
Such lack of preparation and an absence of quality training sessions can only make it more difficult for Warne to reclaim his Test spot taken over by Stuart MacGill earlier this year when Warne was rubbed out for 12 months after testing positive to using a banned substance.
Cricket Australia were forced to review their previous policy when the Australian Sports Commission threatened to withdraw a large amount of funding from them, unless their drug policy was changed to ban Warne from training at any level of the sport. Obviously not wanting to lose the funding, Cricket Australia swiftly reviewed the policy to the detriment of Warne or any other player unfortunate or stupid enough to be suspended or banned for a drug offence.
Under most circumstances, Cricket Australia would likely have told the ASC to butt out of their business and leave cricket issues to them, but recent controversies involving Warne look to have had an impact on the relationship between Warne and Cricket Australia, which many people believe has even led to the Australian cricket authority casting Warne adrift. When the recent harassment allegations were made against Warne by some “dopey hairy-back sheila in South Africa” as motor mouthed Victorian coach David Hookes called her, Cricket Australia released a statement saying nothing more than “it’s a private matter between Warne and Ms Cohen Alon.” So few words from a body that has been known to go into immediate damage control regarding previous allegations made against Warne, of which their has been more than a few.
This lack of words or a more comprehensive statement from the governing body of cricket in Australia is believed by many to be a sign that Cricket Australia has had a gutful of defending Warne and is no longer prepared to defend someone so controversial, whom many believe brings the name of cricket into disrepute.
And if the current controversies are not enough to bury Warne, a Melbourne stripper has sold her story to a National television current affairs program in Australia, due to go to air tonight (25 August) in which she claims to have had a sexual relationship with him that lasted several months and was more than intimate. Warne who has made no comment regarding the specific allegation, fled Australia with his family yesterday on board a flight to England, no doubt to escape the media attention that will follow the airing of the story.
Whether any of the most recent allegations are true or not, one thing is certain, Warne will have a very tough road ahead in his attempts to make it back into an Australian side that is yet to miss his presence and maybe, that is the way many of his former team-mates and or Cricket Australia might like to keep it.
Shane might have hoped to be able to escape the limelight by taking his family to England at this dire hour, but I’m certain their will be at least one set of eyes watching the current affairs program tonight....those of one Mrs Warne, apart from the other 3, 4, 5,000,000 Aussies who also want to know what other stupid things it is alleged Shane Warne has done recently.
Let’s just hope when he eventually does comment on current issues, he keeps his mum right out of this one. I just don’t think Aussies could swallow another “mummy made me do it” story.
We’re not all dills you know!