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Thursday, January 10, 2008

What would Doug Walters think?

In his latest column in The Times Shane Warne acknowledges that there have been rumours about his position with Hampshire in 2008. "At the moment" he says, oblivious to the irony of using the same phrase which the Indian team management is using as a Damoclean sword over the ICC, "I am committed to coming back this season. I am in constant touch with Rod Bransgrove, our chairman, and needless to say, I would love to lift the championship in September."

But "There is a deal in the pipeline with a poker company that will involve playing in certain events through the year. I can fit what I do around the cricket. The World Series takes place in Las Vegas at the same time as the Twenty20 Cup. I definitely want to go to Las Vegas and I have not played Twenty20 for the past few seasons. It has always come at an ideal time to take a break. I am 38 and, after 20 or so years in the game, I need a rest at some point during a six-month campaign."

If he's spurning the Twenty20 comp because he believes it's Mickey Mouse, that's fine, but then might you not expect a county captain to be supporting, even if he's not actually playing for, his team in all forms of the game? Didn't he say something the other day how how captains were much more important than coaches? (He certainly was reported as saying that Ricky Ponting's "man management skills are good" and that Anil Kumble is "one of the gentlemen of the game")

And hasn't there been talk of him signing up for the ICL T20 competition (or is he waiting for them to change the rules so that he only has to bowl, and not field?).

Years ago Doug Walters was renowned as a dressing room card player. I'm sure he didn't interrupt his cricket season to play cards. He saw the two activities as mutually compatible. Of course Dougie was, like Warne is, a confirmed smoker and drinker, but in his playing days he (at least as far as we know) kept his priorities in the right order. Or am I being too hard on the great leggie in the twilight of his career? He does have the right to make (or lose) a buck as he pleases, whether by playing cricket, playing poker or advertising beer.

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