Warne vs Samuels – who is to blame?

A lot was going on at the MCG tonight during the Twenty20 BigBash game between the Melbourne Stars and the Melbourne Renegades.

In summary, this happened…

By the looks of this picture (Getty Images, via Daily Mail), it looks like stand-in wicket-keeper Rob Quiney has just javelined a cricket bat into the air.

In actual fact, Renegades and West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels tossed his bat towards Shane Warne after the Stars captain threw the cricket ball at him. Warne claims his intended target was Quiney. But I don’t think anyone who saw the incident would believe that blatant lie. I mean, after 145 Tests and 194 ODIs, surely Warnie knows how to direct a cricket ball to a teammate without accidentally making contact with the man with whom he had been arguing moments earlier. It was probably the most unsportsmanlike incident I’ve seen in my 15 years of spectating cricket.

In Warnie’s defence, Marlon Samuels was no angel. In the first innings, Samuels tugged at David Hussey’s jumper as the Stars batsman was attempting a second run. That too was unsportsmanlike and unnecessary, although it probably had no impact on proceedings. If anything, Samuels probably saved the younger Hussey from going for a risky second run. Samuels obviously didn’t want David getting run out in the same fashion as his retiring brother Michael did two days ago.

The other incident that potentially sparked the controversy took place early in the Stars’ innings, when Samuels claimed a low catch off Brad Hodge’s batting. Replays confirmed that Samuels took the catch fair and square. When the skirmish unfolded an hour later, Hodge ran from third man to Samuels and shared what looked like a joke. This is entirely speculation, but by the looks of it Hodge wasn’t overly concerned about the nature of his dismissal and was probably keen to distance himself from his captain’s extreme behaviour.

Both Samuels and Warnie probably deserve to be reprimanded, but Warne is the real culprit. He made a mountain out of a mole hill and showed none of the grace that a player of 301 first-class games should be displaying in a relatively inconsequential domestic Twenty20 game.

He’s had his time in the sun. Now he’s just a cranky old fool. My best advice for him would be to call it quits after this season before adding another blemish to his record. In years time, I want to tell me grandchildren about the Warnie who took 700 wickets, not the Warnie who threw cricket balls at touring cricketers.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate the best moment of the match – Bob Quiney making a fantastic wicket-keeping debut in the absence of a specialist glovesman. If I were Matthew Wade, I’d be shaking in my shoes…

Have your say below on who you think is to blame. Alternatively, come up with the best caption for the above photo – best submission gets to follow me on Twitter for free.