Durban: In the wake of his “drug-tainted background”, objections have been raised against inviting Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne as an honourable guest for school children in Phoenix here.
“I have a question over whether Warne is a suitable role model for our young people,” said deputy mayor Logie Naidoo, who thinks India’s Sachin Tendulkar or Sourav Ganguly would have been far better role models for the young children.
“I suppose from a purely cricket development point of view he (Shane) might be inspiring to children but given the drugs debacle, I think there are many who would have a problem with his visit,” said Naidoo.
Naidoo, who was invited to attend the function, declined the invitation stating that he had a prior engagement.
In any case, Naidoo said, he had a problem that Warne, “with his involvement in drugs”, was invited to address the children.
Warne was invited to address a “breakfast” function and visit schools in Phoenix in Durban to inspire children to take up cricket seriously.
But organiser of the event Julian Kisten and Natal Cricket chief executive Cassim Docrat said Warne was “invited as a cricketer” to inspire children.
“I understand that the invitation to Warne is a sensitive issue, but he has a wonderful record of promoting cricket among the disadvantaged and society should not close doors to somebody who has so much to offer.”
“Warne has previously done work here and he accompanied Jonty Rhodes to townships. We should do whatever we can to rehabilitate him,” he said.
Kirsten, who did not believe Warne was a poor role model for children, said, “I am very proud to be presenting Shane to my community. The children will only see him as the great star.”
Share of Cup booty
Warne will receive up to A$15,000 ($9,000) in prize-money from Australia’s World Cup victory, despite not playing a single game in the World Cup, adds another report from Melbourne.
The ACB said Wednesday the team had decided to divide up the A$3.6 million in winnings on a pro-rata basis, according to how long each player had spent at the tournament.
Warne — one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the century — was sent home from South Africa before Australia’s first match of the tournament after testing positive for a banned diuretic.