According to Yahoo! Sports:
Cricketer Shane Warne’s dramatic exit from the World Cup knocked the looming war with Iraq off the front pages in Australia as the sports-mad nation reacted with bewildered anger to the latest scandal engulfing its spin king.
The Australian labelled Warne the “stupid spinner,” after he was sent home from the tournament in South Africa Tuesday following revelations he had tested positive for a banned diuretic drug in Sydney last month.
Prime Minister John Howard took time out from a series of international crisis meetings on Iraq to express his sympathy for Warne and urge cricket authorities to deal with him fairly.
“He is a great Australian cricketer. My hope is he’ll be back playing for Australia before long,” Howard said in New York.
Warne’s family in Melbourne also spoke of their distress, with a source close to the family telling the Australian Associated Press the bowler had taken a pill given to him by his mother in circumstances that were “totally innocent”.
But there was little sympathy for Warne among newspaper commentators and radio talkback callers following the latest in a string of scandals that have tarnished the reputation of the man hailed as the greatest spin bowler of all time.
Critics cited Warne’s dealings with illegal bookmakers, a sex scandal in Britain where he was accused of bombarding a young nurse with suggestive phone messages and a general air of arrogance as evidence the bowler had “more flaws than the Empire State Building”.
They said Warne had let down his teammates and his conduct was naive, at the very least.
“When he dislocated his shoulder, Shane Warne must have damaged brain cells as well. What else will explain the numbingly dumb decision by one of the greatest cricketers in history to pop a diuretic?” Peter Jenkins asked in the Daily Telegraph.
However, there was some support for the beleaguered leggie. Respected Sydney Morning Herald commentator and former Somerset captain Peter Roebuck concluded: “It does sound like a minor matter, an oversight.”
Shane Warne is considered one of the best spin bowlers in cricket. However, his absence was not felt by the Australian team yesterday as they easily defeated Pakistan.