Thursday, 25 June 2009

Shane Warne: Doublethink

When he was bowling, Shane Warne could convince sane batsmen that straight ones were zooters and that the googly he hadn't bowled for two years was coming up next ball. He was a master of disinformation, a consummate psychologist, an unparalleled reader of the game. You didn't just face Warne's bowling, you faced Shane Warne and everything that brought with it. 

He has a natural talent for the convincing facade, hence his success in poker. It's what will make his media career watchable: there will be what he says and what he means, and the two will not necessarily match up.

His column in today's Times is a classic of the genre. Ravi Bopara is 'a bit flaky'. Michael Vaughan is 'not just a better batsmen than Bopara, I'd put him above everyone bar Pietersen. As long as he's making runs and can run between the wickets, he'd be in my team'.  

'As with bowlers,' he goes on, 'you have to pick on form rather than reputation'.

So is Bopara dangerous or a dud? Does he really think Michael Vaughan is in form? Is this a straight one or a zooter? Can he still bowl that googly? Did he really need hair replacement? How many cards is he holding?

Ah, Shane. It's good to have you back. 


Brit said...

That's the generous interpretation. The less generous one is that he's just mad as a box of frogs.

Last time I saw Warney was for Hampshire at Bristol, floodlit Pro 40 job, freezing cold drizzly Sept evening. Between innings I spied him hunched outside the dressing room smoking a crafty ciggy. When he finished, he yawned, stretched, then took the empty fag packet and chucked it nonchalantly - but expertly - through a random pavilion window and went inside to bellow at his team-mates.

The Old Batsman said...

Nice story. I must admit if I could pick one current player to sit down and talk about cricket with, it would be Warne. But then I err towards the generous interpretation...

Brit said...

Wot, even over Ronnie Irani?

The Old Batsman said...

Yes, the single good thing to emerge from the collapse of Setanta is that Ronnie Irani should never appear as a pundit again.