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‘You’re never going to captain Australia again’ – Nasser revisits his sledging of Warne that backfired spectacularly during leg-spinner’s state memorial

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Nasser Hussain, speaking during the late Shane Warne’s state memorial on Wednesday, revisited a hilarious incident from 1999, when his attempted sledging at the leg-spinning great backfired spectacularly.

A memorial capturing the colourful life of Warne was held at the MCG on March 30, where music stars Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams and Chris Martin gave a soulful tribute to the Australian legend. Cricketers Nasser Hussain, Allan Border, Mark Taylor and Brian Lara, among others, took the stage to share their memories of playing with and against Warne, who passed away earlier this month.

Hussain brought back an incident from the 1999 Carlton & United Tri-Series, which also featured Sri Lanka, where the England batter tried to get under the nerves of Warne, then leading the side in Steve Waugh’s absence. The move, however, backfired, as Warne dismissed Hussain off the very next delivery.


The hosts had topped the table with seven wins from ten games in the tri-series and met England, who finished with five wins from their encounters, in the best-of-three finals. The first game, held in Sydney, saw Australia post 232-8 on the board, with Michael Bevan top-scoring with an unbeaten 69. In reply, the visitors got off to a decent start, and were well-placed at 131-4, needing 101 off the remaining 21.1 overs.

Hussain, who was batting at No.4, and was at the forefront of England’s charge, reveals how Warne had been “sledging me all day” after struggling for rhythm in the first few overs.

“There was one of those triangular finals in 1999,” Hussain said. “We were just thrilled to be in a triangular final in Australia, usually, we are in the hotel, to be honest, and he had been sledging me all day, and he brought himself on to bowl because AB [Allan Border] had told him, about 20 years earlier, if you’re struggling, pick a fight with someone. So he picks a fight with me.”

Hussain reveals that he did not hold back either, and sledged Warne back, saying that Warne should “enjoy his last day as captain.”

“I’ve sledged him, for some apparent reason. I’ve gone back and said something like, ‘enjoy your last game as captain. Steve Waugh is back next game, you’re never gonna captain Australia again’, which at the time seemed a really good thing to do because we needed 40 off ten overs.”

The words came back to bite a pumped-up Hussain soon enough. Off the very next delivery, Warne drew him forward with one that drifted in and turned away. The England batter ran down the track but was unable to connect bat to ball, with wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist whipping off the bails in a jiffy.

“I’ll be surprised if you haven’t got the footage of me running down the pitch,” Hussain said, “very next delivery after the slog swing. [After looking at the dismissal on the big screen] That shot doesn’t get any better 23 years later! Stumped Gilchrist, bowled Warne. Look at the celebration. The drift in. I’m in a different postcode to that ball and look at that celebration. How often have we seen that.”

England eventually went on to lose the game by 10 runs, with Warne also picking up the wicket of Adam Hollioake. They also went down in the second final by 162 runs, with Australia winning the tri-series.

However, Hussain’s words did come true, as it was the last time Warne ever captained Australia in international cricket.

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