Warne slams ‘sickening’ cricket obsession
CRICKET legend Shane Warne has lashed Australia's obsession with the famous Baggy Green cap, calling the ongoing glorification "embarrassing" and "sickening".
The Baggy Green cap has become an Australian sporting icon, given to debutants during an emotional presentation ceremony before their first Test match.
Only 458 players have ever received a Baggy Green, and in the popular docu-series Forged in Fire, several Australian cricket greats discussed the cap's significance.
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor said, "The moment you get a Baggy Green is the moment you have made it."
Western Australian batsman Michael Hussey claimed, "It's so much more than a cap; it's so much more than a piece of fabric."
However, unlike his former teammates, Warne is not emotionally attached to the piece of fabric.
"The Baggy Green and all that stuff is a load of rubbish," Warne said.
"You don't need to wear a Baggy Green cap to say you love playing cricket for Australia."
Warne never tried to hide his thoughts on the Baggy Green - the King of Spin ripped into former Australian captain Steve Waugh in 2013 for forcing players to don the cap.
"We had this ridiculous thing Steve Waugh brought in … He said that everyone in the first hour has to wear the green baggy cap," Warne said.
"I said to him, 'I don't have to wear my green baggy cap to say I enjoyed playing cricket for Australia, I want to wear my white floppy, I feel more comfortable in it.'
"He said, 'No, we're all doing it.'
"I used to sit there and sulk at first slip for the first hour wearing this silly baggy green cap … It was just silly."
Warne has since reiterated his frustration in Australian cricket's love affair with the Baggy Green.
"I always believed that you didn't have to wear the baggy green cap to say how much you loved playing cricket for Australia," he said.
"I loved playing cricket for Australia, and I didn't need to wear that cap or have that verbal diarrhoea about it, I just enjoyed playing cricket for Australia.
"I always felt that if I wore a white floppy hat or wore my Baggy Green cap it meant exactly the same, I was playing for Australia."
Warne also poked fun at popular Amazon docu-series The Test for excessively glorifying the hat.
"There was too much verbal diarrhoea about the baggy cap … it was a bit too over the top for me," Warne said.
"The stuff that they go on about, the fabric of the baggy green and all this stuff that they go on about, I don't sign in and buy into that.
"But as a whole, it was a fantastic documentary."
Before Waugh's captaincy, the Baggy Green was considered just another part of the Australian cricket teams' attire. There were no presentation ceremonies before the 1980s, and former Australian captain Ian Chappell explained how legendary Channel 9 commentator Bill Lawry used to clean out pigeon lofts wearing his Australian Test cap to "keeping the pigeon s*** from getting in his hair".
When Australian tennis great Pat Rafter qualified for the Wimbledon final in 2001, it coincided with an Ashes tour. The Australian cricket team attended the prestigious match to support Rafter, but some players bizarrely opted to don the Baggy Green in the stands.
Warne unsurprisingly refused to join in.
"I didn't need to wear it to bloody Wimbledon, which was just sickening, that they'd wear it to Wimbledon," Warne said.
"I actually refused, myself and Mark Waugh refused, but some of those other guys, yeah, they wore it.
"Sitting at Wimbledon in your green Baggy Green cap, come on mate, please.
"That was embarrassing."
In January, Warne auctioned off his Baggy Green cap for the Australian bushfire appeal, and it was sold for a mind-boggling $1,007,500.