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My shame in the Bull Ring; Warne: That guy was not the real me.

If Shane Warne could wipe one day from his memory, it would be Sunday, March 7, 1994.

The place was the Wanderers Ground in Johannesburg.

That was when Warne lost his cool in a big, big way.

He swore at South African batsman Andrew Hudson after bowling him out and followed up by pointing Hudson's way to the pavilion - the ultimate cricket insult.

Warne was fined 1,000 Australian dollars by match referee Donald Carr. So was his Victoria team-mate Merv Hughes, who finally cracked under the constant baiting of a violent crowd Warne calls the "Bull Ring".

Wisden tries to explain Warne's outburst by saying: "It seems curious that Allan Border did not bowl Warne until the 49th over of the first innings and the 44th of the second, which is thought to have put him in the temper which led to his disgraceful - and almost unprecedented - outburst when he finally came on and dismissed Hudson.

"Rarely on a cricket field has physical violence seemed so close."

Things were made worse for Warne when he and Hughes were fined another 4,000 dollars by Allan Crompton, a Sydney solicitor who is now Warne's boss as manager of the current tour to England.

In his new book: "Shane Warne - My Own Story," the master spinner says: "The Australian Board's Graham Halbish and Allan Crompton imposed the extra fine,

but they never spoke to us or asked for our side of the story.

"I thought it was very bad that Allan could fine us when he wasn't even there.

"Sure, Merv and I lost our tempers, but we were never allowed to explain the poor behaviour we had to handle every time we ran onto the field."

Now Warne, for the first time, can explain just what it is like in South Africa. In his book he says: "Only half an hour after the Australian team landed in Johannesburg one warm February morning in 1994, we saw something from the bus taking us to our hotel that seemed a bad omen for the rest of the tour.

"People were heading off to work, walking across fields, queueing for buses, packed into the back of pick-up trucks. And in the middle of all this, on both sides of the freeway, were six bodies with white sheets draped over them. It was quite a shock. Welcome to South Africa.

"There have been some difficult times in my life, but that tour to South Africa was definitely one of the worst.

"From the moment we got off the plane in Johannesburg, we seemed to be in the spotlight.

"Not that we weren't in the spotlight in Australia, but in South Africa the attention was more intense and in-your-face. Everywhere we went, people wanted to meet us, to touch us, or get our autographs.

"At the risk of appearing to be pumping up my own tyres, I seemed to be the centre of a lot of the attention. I hope I've never refused to sign an autograph for a kid, but the aggressive attitude of the public really got up our noses, and it turned out that I let it get to me. Eventually I blew a fuse in a big way."

It all went off with a bang on the Sunday of that first Test. Warne says that Andrew Hudson and Hansie Cronje were going along well and things were slipping away from Australia. Eventually Border went up to him and said: "We need you, Warnie. Come on, get us a wicket."

Warne goes on: "After all the trouble back at the hotel, and at the ground, by the time I got the ball I was really pumped up. I was in a state and wanted to show all the 40,000 people at the ground that I was going to fix them right up.

"I was desperate to get a wicket and with my third ball I bowled Hudson behind his legs. That set me off. I lost it completely and started telling him to `**** off. Go on, Hudson, **** off out of here!'

"Hudson is a good player and a lovely bloke, a good friend of my close mate Jonty Rhodes. Andrew had done nothing to deserve that sort of abuse. Eventually Ian Healy grabbed me and tried to stop me.

"I look back at it now and wonder what was going on. The film of that incident is pretty awful, and the guy in the footage is not the real me.

"Later, Paul Reiffel and David Boon said they had noticed that I was angry even before the game. Paul, who was 12th man, said I had been rude to him when I asked him to get a few balls so I could have a warm- up bowl.

"Boonie said I seemed angry and tense for the whole week.

"After play I had to front the ICC match referee Donald Carr. I knew I'd done the wrong thing and I accepted the 1,000-dollar fine he imposed.

"On our way from Carr's room to our dressing-room we had to pass by the South African room.

"I saw Andrew Hudson and apologised to him straight away. I told him there was nothing personal in it and he was fine. In fact, most of the South Africans just had a good laugh about it all.

"They had no problems with me, which was a relief as the teams had been getting on very well."
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Whiting, Steve
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 27, 1997
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