Steve Waugh mocked Shane Warne for having “no mates” during the 1996 World Cup, when he was already cemented as a superstar member of the Australian cricket team, former teammate Shane Lee has claimed.
Lee was part of the squad for that edition of the World Cup, just 22 years-old and with only six matches to his credit leading into the tournament.
Warne, then 26, had been part of the Test team for four years and the ODI side for three, on his way to an iconic career that netted 1001 international wickets.
Yet when the leg-spinner took a shine to Lee, a powerful all-rounder who made his debut just two months before the World Cup, Waugh apparently sank the boot in.
“He (Warne) took me in and said, ‘It’s gonna be the Shane Show, me and you, the Shane Show’,” Lee said on the Betoota Advocate Podcast.
“And Steve Waugh pulled me aside and goes, ‘How are you going with Warnie?’
“I said, ‘Look, he’s been really nice to me’. And Waugh goes, ‘Mate, do you remember when you were at school and there was a kid at school who had no mates? And this new kid comes to school, and the kid with no mates is all over the new kid?’
“Waugh said, ‘You’re that new kid and Warnie’s the kid with no mates’.”
Waugh and Warne have carried out a simmering feud post-career, with Warne repeatedly branding his former captain the most selfish player that he ever played with. Lee’s claim exposes ill-feeling between the pair earlier than previously reported.
Any friendship was ruined in 1999, when newly-appointed skipper Waugh dropped Warne during a Test series in the West Indies. Warne admitted that he was furious and tried to undermine Waugh’s leadership on the next tour, in Sri Lanka, though the pair also won the World Cup together that year.
Waugh has claimed that the ongoing animosity is one-way, saying recently: “People keep saying it’s a feud. But to me, a feud’s between two people. I’ve never bought into it, so it’s just one person.
“His comments are a reflection of himself, nothing to do with me. That’s all I’d say.”
Lee said that Warne’s friendship during the World Cup extended to the superstar’s other great skill beyond cricket: womanising. Yet this time, things didn’t work out.
Lee recalled how every cricketer was accompanied by an Indian model at the World Cup opening ceremony and Warne thought ‘the Shane Show’ was truly on.
“I was single at the time and Warnie was single on tour,” Lee said. “Warnie said, ‘I’ll get the best two (models) for us — the Shane Show, the Shane Show’.
“Anyway, he lined up these two girls and we had one drink and we’re going back to their place and we’re thinking it’s all going to happen.
“Then we got there and there’s her whole extended family there and we spent the whole night signing autographs and having a bloody meal.
“I said, ‘Oh, the Shane Show, really Warnie?’ And he goes, ‘Don’t tell the boys that!'”