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Mark Taylor says Waugh made wrong call in dropping Warne in 1999

by Wisden Staff 1 minute read

Mark Taylor, the former Australia captain, has given his take on the longstanding and recently reignited feud between Shane Warne and Steve Waugh, saying he wouldn’t have dropped Warne in 1999, the incident that sparked tensions between Australia’s then captain and ace leg-spinner.

Warne, last week, said Waugh was “the most selfish cricketer” he had played with, to which Waugh said, “His comments are a reflection of himself.” Other Australia greats have weighed in, with Jason Gillespie saying he didn’t agree with Warne’s view of Waugh. Taylor has now added himself to that list.

“They’re not best mates, no doubt about that. But when they played together, they were fine,” Taylor said in Wide World of Sports. “The one big incident that irked Shane was in Steve’s first tournament as captain in the West Indies, where Steve had to make a decision about the last Test against the West Indies in the Caribbean in 1999 between his two leg-spinners.

“Warnie was coming back from an injury, and not bowling at his best. Stuart MacGill was in the team, but Brian Lara had turned the series around with his batting, he was facing and playing these two leg-spinners very well. For the final Test match, Steve went with MacGill and left Warne out. And that certainly irked Shane Warne at the time, and I don’t think he’s ever forgiven him.”

Probed further, Taylor, who led Australia in 50 Tests, said Waugh didn’t make the right call with regard to Warne. “At the time, no. I didn’t think it was,” he said, when asked what if dropping Warne was the right decision.

“I felt that if he had to make a decision between the two leggies, which Australia had to do at that stage because Lara was playing so well, I’d have gone with the guy that’s been great for so long, even though he was not at his best. In a must-win game, I’d have gone with Shane Warne.”

However, he also couldn’t resist taking a dig at Warne, saying the former leg-spinner would ensure this debate goes on for ages. “Warnie will make sure it goes on for a very long time. He brings it out once every year!”

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