The independent voice of cricket


When Shane Warne preferred cigarettes over undies and socks

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Picking between underwear and cigarettes for a training camp might be a dilemma for some, but not for Shane Warne, who once traded his bare essentials for “six packs of darts”, according to Michael Clarke.

Recalling an incident ahead of the 2006 Ashes, when Warne joined a three-day training stint with the Australian team, Clarke told Big Sports Breakfast how the leg-spinner was at loggerheads with coach John Buchanan over him carrying smokes on the trip.

“It didn’t start great when we were all in a room together and they said drop down to your jocks and we’ll tell you what you can take,” Clarke said.

For the camp, the players were allowed to carry two T-shirts, a pair of pants, a pair of joggers, a cap, three pairs of socks and three pairs of undies. Warne, however, was in no mood to budge, making it clear that he would not travel without his beloved smokes.

“For someone like Warnie who loved a smoke, he pretty much told them he is not coming unless he can bring his smokes. It was World War five.

“I would imagine John Buchanan would have been standing there thinking ‘oh my god, if we tell Warnie not to come this is just going to end in an absolute disaster’. No matter what happened Warnie was going to play that Test match, John Buchanan could not have dropped him or the selectors wouldn’t have not picked him, so he [Warne] had a lot of power at the time.”

An agreement was reached when the coach asked Warne to replace a piece of clothing with every cigarette pack he put in the bag. “Warnie flicked his three pairs of undies, flicked his three pairs of socks and put six packs of darts in and off we went.

“In the middle of the bush, sleeping bag only, no cover, no shelter, on the ground and it was pitch black,” Clarke said. “All you could see was this orange light coming out of someone’s sleeping bag and it was Warnie just sucking his dart back.”

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99