Australian cricket legend Steve Waugh has refused to bite back after his former teammate Shane Warne launched a diatribe against him on a reality television program and labelled Waugh the "most selfish cricketer I've played with".
Shane Warne rips into 'selfish' Steve Waugh
Shane Warne has a candid conversation in the jungle about his dislike for former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh. Vision: Channel Ten
A dignified Waugh responded simply in a statement: "I'm not justifying his comments with an answer".
And it seems Warne has attracted little sympathy following his public outburst, with many on social media declaring their support for Team Waugh.
Warne, a contestant in the Channel Ten reality show I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, was relaxing on an inflatable lounge in the middle of the South African jungle camp when he expressed the level of animosity between himself, the then vice captain, and his skipper Waugh, which stemmed from Australia's 1999 tour of the West Indies.
During that tour, Warne was axed from the fourth and final Test in St John's after an underwhelming performance in the first three tour matches. Colin Miller was selected in Warne's place for the final match, which Australia went on to win.
Warne complained to fellow contestants on the show, broadcast on Tuesday night, that Waugh was behind the decision to sideline him.
"We got to the selection table and said 'What's everyone's thoughts?'," Warne said.
"Steve Waugh said [to me] 'You're not playing'. I went 'What? Hang on. What do you think the team should be? Blah blah blah', and Steve Waugh said 'Nup, I'm the captain of this side ... you're not playing'.
"I was really disappointed with that after [almost] 10 years. I'd just had a shoulder operation. I thought the situation, of having to win a Test match, would've brought the best out in me too.
"I don't like Steve Waugh for a lot of other reasons, but that was the reason I thought [there was no way that relationship would recover]."
But if the spin king was hoping to attract sympathy from the public, he will be bitterly disappointed. He was heavily criticised on Twitter for taking a swipe at his former skipper, 17 years after the incident.
Steve Waugh and selfish? Come on Warnie - it's a joke. If there was one man I would bet my life on to save a test for team, it was Waugh.— Anuj Singhal (@_anujsinghal) February 9, 2016
Bagging Steve Waugh, Warnie? Mate you'd have to die and get born again to have a tiny fraction of that man's class.— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) February 9, 2016
Here is Steve Waugh "unselfishly" lending his shoulder to Shane Warne. pic.twitter.com/q5aSn2u0Zg— Dennis Does Cricket (@DennisCricket_) February 9, 2016
Warnie calling Steve Waugh selfish. A bit of pot calling the kettle black there.— Brent Ford (@Brentford26) February 9, 2016
@ShaneWarne at least Steve Waugh told you in the eye he needed to drop you rather than stabbing you in the back. That in itself is respect.— Dib Taleb (@The_Nonpareil) February 9, 2016
Some also referred to the closure of Warne's charitable foundation last month. Waugh's foundation continues to be operational.
The Steve Waugh Foundation has supported 1,454 individuals and families with rare diseases. The Shane Warne Foundation just closed.— Ben Eltham (@beneltham) February 9, 2016
Waugh broached the same topic in his 2013 book The Meaning of Luck: Stories of Learning, Leadership and Love, in which he wrote: "I lost a great friend but gained fortitude from the experience and learnt categorically that knowing what is right and acting on it are two different things.
"One day, I hope Shane comes to terms with the fact it wasn't about me not trusting his immense skill and innate love for the big occasion, but rather a common-sense decision based on facts and the key ingredients every leader must trust and rely on 'gut instinct'."