Once upon a time, Shane Warne and Steve Waugh were fast friends.
As part of the mighty Australian side of the 1990’s and 2000’s, they were unconquerable, united in victory presiding over the world of cricket.
Shane Warne, in a reality show, called his former skipper “the most selfish cricketer I have played with”.
The reference was to his axing from the final Test in 1999 when the ‘kangaroos’ toured the West Indies.
Waugh initially preferred not to respond issuing a curt statement that read:
“I’m not justifying his comments with an answer.”
He later opened up to Triple M commercial radio.
“To be fair, not only Shane, any player I had to tell was dropped wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy telling Adam Dale he was dropped for a Test match or Greg Blewett. There were a number of players I had to tell they weren’t playing. As a captain, that is the hardest thing to do. But it’s also why you’re the captain, because people expect you to make the tough decisions for the benefit of the team. You have got to do that at times and you have got to be prepared not to be liked by everyone.”
“I guess, the main thing as a captain and leader, as long as people respect your decision, that is all you can ask. You have got to take a bit of a risk sometimes. It’s not always the obvious thing to do. Sometimes it can be gut feel, it can be based on facts…at the end of the day, you are a leader because people expect you to make a choice.”
Great teams need great players. And it goes without argument that these two giants of Australian cricket count among them.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean that they always see eye to eye on all matters.
Even the best of friends fall out when their interests collide. And Warne was a strong contender for the top job in Australian cricket, only to be denied by the establishment.
The Spin King would have made a great skipper. Better than Waugh? That’s debatable.
Whatever the case, for a team to do well, their stalwarts have to subsume their differences towards a common goal.
Waugh and Warne were able to do that and how.
Soon after their rift the Aussie side lifted the 1999 ODI World Cup with Warne coming good in the semis and the final bagging man-of-the-match awards. This after the side were almost knocked out of the tournament by South Africa.
Yes, they weren’t the best of pals. They still aren’t.
But they were also seekers of excellence in their respective fields.
Just goes to show that you don’t need to be the best of buddies to be teammates.
Just able to meet on common ground to get things done in the best manner possible.
Teammates, yes. BFF, no.
It’s possible that team-members become best friends.
But it’s not necessary that best buddies make the best teammates.
Paradoxical, yes. Untrue, no.
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