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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 12:38 GMT

Warne: The future
By Tom Fordyce

Shane Warne holds his head in his hands
Is this the end of the road for Warne?

Shane Warne's cricket career is on the line after he was banned for a year by the Australian Cricket Board.

The ACB made the decision despite the 33-year-old's protestations that he had unwittingly taken a banned diuretic.

What might the ban mean for Warne's future?


International cricket

Warne had already decided to quit one-day international cricket at the end of the current World Cup.

The ACB ban will keep him out of the Test side for 12 months, by which time he will be 34.

What a waste of talent, just like Alex Higgins and George Best
Brian Heaney, UK

He will still be young enough to return to the Test fold but will Warne be able to keep his fitness at the right levels?

Would he have the necessary desire to keep pushing himself, month after month, when there is no guarantee he would automatically win his place back and when non-playing avenues would be opening up all the time?


Public image

Warne has proved remarkably resilient to the various scandals that have threatened to tarnish his name.

In 2000 he admitted accepting money from an Indian bookmaker back in 1994, and was also caught making lewd phone calls to a 22-year-old nurse during his previous spell with Hampshire, despite having a wife and child in Australia.

In spite of all this, Australia still loves him.

Whether Warne's reputation can survive a doping ban is another matter.

At the very best, Warne has to admit to great stupidity in taking a medicine without first consulting the team's medical officers - and taking a medicine to simply make himself look better.

At worst, he will be found guilty of using diuretics to mask the use of other banned substances - and that is about as far from the ideal of the fair dinkum Aussie sportsman as it gets.

You can drink too much in nightclubs and have fights, like Ricky Ponting, and people will see it as a mere youthful excess.

You can certainly dodge an urgent interview with cricket's anti-corruption investigators on the basis that you are going on a fishing trip (Mark Waugh).

But taking banned drugs, and then lying to get off the hook, blaming your mother in the process?


Media work

In theory, Warne will be in great demand from the world's media as an expert summariser.

After all, who better to have on your commentary team than arguably the greatest spinner in Test history?

But media organisations are as wary of negative publicity as national sports teams. Will anyone welcome on board a man who has been publicly disgraced and subsequently lost much of his appeal to cricket fans?





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