Shane Warne believes Australia’s cricketers have been guilty of whingeing too much in recent times, but doubts that following the friendly example set by New Zealand is the way forward for a national team currently subject to a cultural review after the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.
Having become the latest big name to sign with Fox Sports’ paywalled coverage of cricket in Australia, as part of a A$1 billion television deal signed last month, Warne’s many and varied opinions are set to be ever-present on the network. His first observation was that he had sensed an attitude problem in the Australian team before Cape Town.
“I’m not sure there were team culture problems but I have noticed there is a lot of whingeing coming out of the Australian camp in recent times, about the opposition and things like that,” Warne told News Corporation. “I think that’s un-Australian, I have never really heard any Australian sides do that.
“But I think it’s a great opportunity for everyone in world cricket to draw a line in the sand and say ‘how do we want to play the game?’ ‘What do we stand for?’ ‘What’s the style of play we want?’ I don’t think we want to play like the Kiwis, which I heard someone say. I mean, c’mon. The Kiwis, no thank you.
“But we probably want something in between the Kiwis and Australia at the moment. I want us to play hard but fair, tough, uncompromising cricket, but shake hands and play in the spirit of the game and show good sportsmanship.”
Justin Langer, Warne’s former teammate, has been named the national team coach across formats, with Tim Paine named captain. In another interview with Fox Sports, Warne said that he remained sceptical about Paine as a long-term leader on the basis that he does not believe a wicketkeeper should also be saddled with the burden of captaincy.
“I’d say it to Gilly face to face, I don’t think keepers make good captains,” Warne said of his fellow Fox Sports commentator, Adam Gilchrist. “I think they make good deputies and are fantastic vice-captains to bounce off to set the standard of fielding.
“I don’t think Paine is a long-term option — even though he’s done a great job in the short time he’s been there — but right now we just need to take stock. We have Justin Langer doing all forms, which is great. Eventually, I think that will branch out to a red ball and white ball coach, and we may have different captains in different forms of cricket.
“At the moment it’s about trusting the Australian cricket team again.”
Another new signing for Fox Sports is the former England cricketer Isa Guha, who alongside Alison Mitchell, Mel Jones and Lisa Sthalekar has helped bring a strong female voice to coverage of the game. Guha told SEN Radio that she was looking forward to carrying on what she started with Triple M on television screens this summer.
“We all kind of champion each other because we are getting the opportunities now,” she said. “We love what we do and we hope that people are able to understand that women do know and can talk about cricket. Hopefully there will be more (women) in future who get involved in broadcasting.”