Sydney: Disgraced Australian Test cricketer, Shane Warne may be sitting out a 12-month drug ban, but he remains popular with sports fans Down Under.
Warne tested positive to a banned diuretic in February during the World Cup and was suspended from the sport for a year. But the 33-year-old leg-spinner, whose controversial career has embraced phone sex with an English nurse, abusing teenage spectators for taking photos of him smoking and accepting money from bookies for pitch information, has come out on top of a magazine poll.
Warne, one of Wisden’s five greatest players of the 20th century, has provided Australian men’s favourite sporting moment, according to a poll by magazine FHM.
Over 5,000 people, including sportspersons, fans and administrators, voted on the most historic sporting moments in Australian history and Warne was the clear winner.
“He was surprisingly very popular,” magazine editor John Bastic said on Wednesday.
“A lot of people were very unashamedly Warne fans who were just disappointed he was out of the game. Most said what a great cricketer he was rather than he is a drug cheat and things like that.”
Bastic said the magazine was seeking controversy rather than unforgettable upsets and overcoming adversity.
Few if any characters in Australian sport can match Warne’s exploits. The leg-spinner featured on most entries, Bastic said. “We were looking more for things that made the front page of the newspaper rather than the back page. “Anything controversial, or they had to be a character. They were the criteria.”