Waugh opens up on Warne, Chappell in his book

Published: Saturday, October 22, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Former Australian captain Steve Waugh said star leg-spinner Shane Warne is insecure, hits out at Ian Chappell and takes aim at the national selectors in his long-awaited autobiography.

Prime Minister John Howard will launch Waugh's Out Of My Comfort Zone here on Sunday. Publishers, Penguin, reportedly paying 1.3 million dollars (975,000 USD), which is the biggest advance paid for an Australian's book.

Waugh, who retired as Australian skipper in January last year after 168 Test matches and 10,927 runs, confirms reports from the 1999 World Cup that Warne had problems with his captaincy.

Waugh also reveals Warne, Test cricket's leading wicket-taker, to be a fierce but insecure competitor.

"Shane needs constant support, encouragement and reassurance that he is the man," he says. "He loves to be loved."

Waugh has little time for former captain Ian Chappell, who once described him as a selfish cricketer, but says he was baffled as to why the former captain didn't like him.

"It might have been that I praised the work of (former Test coach) Bob Simpson, who was his sworn enemy, or that I didn't spend hours in the bar drinking and regurgitating old cricket stories," Waugh writes.

Waugh, 40, opened up about his brother Mark's involvement in supplying pitch and weather information to an Indian bookmaker, for which he was fined by the Australian Cricket Board in 1998.

He said he was assured by his twin that he had indulged in nothing more serious than supplying match information.

Waugh said seeing Mark walk out to bat at the Adelaide Oval to a chorus of boos after his fine was publicised 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 chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns 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 in Leeds.

"I was a little shocked at how cut-throat the selectors' attitude was."

Waugh said when the axe finally fell Hohns told him in his Melbourne hotel room on the day of the Allan Border Medal 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," he says.

"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 era of modern domination of Test cricket.

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 details the difficulty of dropping Michael Slater during 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," Waugh said.

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