Thursday, 31 May 2007

Warne’s anti-baldness ad gets Britain’s goat

Shane Warne has this uncanny knack of hitting the headlines for reasons right, wrong and everything in between. The latest came when the British advertising regulators castigated a firm for allegedly misleading consumers in an advert for hairloss treatment featuring cricketer Shane Warne.

Warne has often been a subject of debate in England since June 4, 1993, when he sent down the delivery that spun around Mike Gatting to hit the wicket, a blow the nation could never recover from. Now while they can go on debating on the product, the persona of Warne continues to intrigue me.

Evening walk, walking sticks, pipe, nostalgia, weekend inner, award ceremony, seminars, committees – these are things you tend to link with a retired cricketer. But hang on, don’t be conned into believing that Warne has retired. The international cricketer, the Wizard of Oz, may have quite the game but the showman is very much there. And controversy, like it or not, remains the most reliable evidence of showmanship.

Cricket has been hit hard by the recent exodus of some of the most charismatic, competent too, players in its history. Among them, I believe, Warne’s void is not difficult to fill. It’s rather impossible.

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