In a stunning revelation, former Australia captain Michael Clarke has claimed that Shane Warne often smoked before stepping onto the cricket field. Clarke said the legendary spinner even used to 'put it out' and 'hide' it, only to continue again after every match.
Shane Warne had a chequered 15-year-long career for Australia. The leg-spinner was constantly in the limelight for his on and off-field antics and was even labeled by some as 'controversy's favorite child'.
Michael Clarke implied that Warne lived through this pressure night and day which prompted him to such a path.
“He would always leave the things happening off the field, off the field. Generally, Warnie would have a smoke as he was walking onto the ground. He will try to hide it somewhere. And when he finished his smoke and put it out, he knew that it was game time. He crossed that line and whatever he had going off the field, he would leave it there, go and do his stuff on the field and when he came back, he knew it was still going to be there,” Clarke said on the Uncensored Podcast.
Michael Clarke also lauded Shane Warne for his robust mental fortitude in the face of adversity.
“I think that was his greatest strength, how mentally strong he was to still be able to perform when he had so much media pressure off the field with his life. He had it all his career,” added Clarke.
Nevertheless, Shane Warne's cricketing accomplishments somewhat dwarfed his off-field image.
The former Aussie cricketer accrued over 1000 wickets across formats with his unparalleled skills and still ranks second on the all-time Test wicket-takers list.
Shane Warne was an absolute genius with bat and ball in 2005: Michael Clarke
Shane Warne hit an unusual peak at the fag end of his career. In 2005, two years before he would retire from international cricket, he scalped a record 96 victims - a whopping 24 more than his previous best in 1993.
He even scored a career-high 416 runs that year, including an unforgettable 90 against England in the famous 2005 Ashes. Regarding these performances, Michael Clarke said:
“In 2005 he was absolutely genius with bat and ball. You don’t see that often, Warne making runs with the bat."
Shane Warne's knock ensured Australia reached a respectable total of 302 in their first innings in response to England's 444.
The match ended in a nail-biting draw as Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath played out 34 deliveries between them to keep Australia alive.