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Stunningly stupid act: Aussie media

Melbourne: Shane Warne’s departure from the World Cup after a drug shock was “stunningly stupid” and had to be punished, Australian newspapers said on Wednesday.

The Australian newspaper ran a front-page headline: ‘I’m no drug cheat, says Warne,’ but a back-page column was headlined: ‘Inspiring bravehearts overrun by stupid spinner.’

It was referring to Zimbabwe cricketers Henry Olonga and Andy Flower, who wore black armbands in protest against President Robert Mugabe’s policies but whose brave stand had been overshadowed by Warne’s drug scandal.

Warne, 33, should have flipped through a drugs handbook to check if his dehydrating tablet was banned, the newspaper said. “He said it was a mistake. He is wrong. It was stunningly stupid,” Australia’s only national broadsheet newspaper said.

A Melbourne tabloid, which employs Warne as a columnist, ran a banner front-page headline: ‘Warne Drug Bombshell’ and devoted four pages at the front and three more at the back of the newspaper to the story.

Prime Minister John Howard’s meeting in the United States with President George W. Bush to discuss a possible war with Iraq was pushed back to page five.A column in the sports section, headlined: ‘Warne facing exit in shame,’ said the bowler must be punished and ignorance was no excuse. “He will exit not in glory but in disgrace: Shane’s shame,” it said. The headline of another Melbourne newspaper said: ‘I’m devastated: Warne out of Cup in drugs shock.’

Warne’s bowling coach and former Test leg-spinner Terry Jenner wrote: “Professional cricketers are supposed to know what they are taking, but they don’t, you know. It must have been an accident.”

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