The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ricky raps Shane for drug ‘madness’

Sydney: Australia’s one-day captain Ricky Ponting says he was annoyed by disgraced teammate Shane Warne’s madness in taking a banned drug and for the subsequent damaging controversy it caused.

Ponting, writing in his just-published diary of Australia’s victory in this year’s World Cup in southern Africa, says the controversial leg-spinner should have known better than not to take the banned diuretic pill.

“Every year we (Australian team) have a lecture on drugs,” Ponting wrote, “and I know I understand the issues well enough to check everything I take before I take it. That is common sense, and for Warney, who has been playing international cricket for over a decade, to ignore that approach is just madness.”

Warne is serving his 12-month ban for taking a banned fluid-loss pill, detected in a doping test prior to the World Cup last February.

Australia’s greatest Test wicket-taker said he was given the drug innocently by his mother and took it to reduce his double chin and make him look better on television.

Ponting says his sympathy for his friend and teammate was mixed with “a feeling of annoyance”.

Ponting was also “pretty angry” that the controversy came to a head on the eve of Australia’s ultimately successful World Cup campaign earlier this year.

Ponting recalls in his book how emotional 33-year-old Warne was when he broke the news to a meeting of players at their Johannesburg hotel in February.

“I think there was plenty of shock in the room already,” Ponting wrote, “but to then see the greatest bowler in Australian cricket so distressed in front of us all was as sobering a sight as you could ever wish to see. The room was reduced to complete silence, an awkward silence, as Warney tried to regain his composure and finish what he was saying.”

Ponting observes that for such a “nice, genuine bloke” Warne “does have this habit of attracting trouble”.

Ponting said at Monday’s book launch here: “It’s hard to be angry with a mate that is just a bit naive in something. He’s a great player and I really hope I get to play some more cricket with him.”

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