Shane Warne: still the wrong ‘un

Shane Keith Warne is the most successful bowler in the history of cricket, with an astonishing 708 Test wickets. But while Muttiah Muralitharan is closing in on his record, Warne’s place in the annals of sporting legend remains assured. Because no other sportsman can touch his record when it comes to scandals.

The great man is still playing for Hampshire, of course. And still playing around, of course. And as with the vintage Warney scandals of yore, this latest instance is magnificently foolish. It doesn’t quite plumb the moronic depths of following his mother’s advice to take a diuretic so he’d look slimmer in front of the cameras, but replying to his ex-wife with a text message intended for his new paramour was truly special.
Warne now says he didn’t cheat on Simone, and that they split in August. He is reported as rather bitterly calling it her “latest paid factually incorrect interview with New Idea“. I’m not sure who to believe – Warney has strayed so many times before, but then again, so has New Idea.
Still, he doesn’t deny accidentally sending the text message to Simone, just that they weren’t together at the time. If his story is correct, she seems to be the one lacking class on this occasion, telling all to New Idea before the kids even knew. But that shouldn’t take away from the sheer brilliance of Warne’s apparent slip of the text message. Sending an ex a message meant for your current flame is about as bad an SMS gaffe as you can get.
Honestly, if you were Shane Warne, would you trust yourself to even send mobile phone text messages at all after getting caught out so many times before? With the nurse, and that exotic dancer, the South African woman, and, , and, and, and presumably an endless number of others.
I’m not entirely sure whether Shane Warne is a sex addict, or merely a text addict. But his latest salacious cellphone saga should be a cautionary tale for us all. Mobile phones are deadly. Everyone always assumes that they’re 100% private, but of course they aren’t. Your own handset isn’t, let alone the person you think you’re texting. I’ve heard so many stories of jealous partners going through their messages. Really, why people don’t delete “special” messages when they arrive is beyond me, and you can password-lock your phone. But still, people don’t. And still, people get caught.
Alternatively – and here’s a way-out suggestion – there’s always fidelity. Just a thought.
It’s not just mobiles, of course, although those relatively simple devices seem to have Warney constantly flummoxed. Privacy is easily compromised with most of our oh-so-convenient modern communications devices. Many of my friends spend all day tapping away on Gmail and use the built-in chat client to swap gossip, but it’s incredibly easy to leave the computer logged in. And thanks to Google’s excellent search capabilities, a passer-by (or your girl/boyfriend) can easily index every bitchy little comment you’ve made about them. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Similarly, instant messaging clients like MSN and Skype tend to automatically log themselves in, and keep a record of every conversation. This stuff can be lethal. Not only can your colleagues, flatmates, lovers or anyone else find them, but probably the CIA is monitoring them all as well. Try to avoid using phrases like “jihad”, “rain fire” and “infidel scum”, even in jest.
I’ve come up with some easy ways around these problems, though. There’s a handy off-the-record chat function in Gmail which prevents either party from saving the chats… or if it really freaks you out, I suggest adopting my solution, which is the diametrical opposite to Warney’s approach. If you simply have an incredibly boring personal life, there will be no salacious messages for anyone to find.
It gets worse, though, as Paris Hilton found when someone hacked her mobile phone. With computers and cameras increasingly having built-in cameras now, the chances for major inadvertent embarrassment are greater than ever. I’m astonished that we haven’t been inundated with more footage of Warney unwittingly exercising his flipper.
I don’t feel the least bit sorry for him, of course, because it’s now abundantly clear that there is simply no scandal that can make him give away his mobile phone. I assume we’ll still be reading about him sending lewd holo-messages in years to come, when his cricket career is a distant memory, and all the kids are only interested in the Ten10 form of the game.
As for Simone, surely nothing can be less surprising than the news that Shane might have been entertaining other lady friends, especially if he was actually single at the time. As those perpetually unfunny cricket banners used to quip, surely she’d been adequately Warned.
And so should we all be. Because just as the onfield career of one S.K. Warne showed the sublime potential of legspin bowling to a new generation, his off-field antics have amply demonstrated that a text message conversation can be even more incriminating than a chat about the weather with a subcontinental bookmaker.

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