Shane Warne and Luis Suarez victims of their success

By Alec StewartFormer England captain and BBC Test Match Special summariser
Shane Warne clashes with Marlon Samuels

The clash between Shane Warne and Marlon Samuels is definitely not the kind of thing you want to see on a cricket field.

Warne has already admitted that he overstepped the mark and I'm sure Samuels will do exactly the same once he has recovered from the eye injury he suffered later in the match.

Thankfully, these types of unsavoury incidents involving opponents are pretty few and far between but anyone believing this kind of thing will never happen again on a cricket field simply isn't living in the real world.

It needs to be understood that top class cricket is not a garden tea party - people's emotions do at times get the better of them in the heat of battle. It's a competitive sport, played by human beings where the stakes are high and at times tempers do boil over and players can lose their self control.

Whatever level of cricket you are playing at, these things unfortunately will happen because people are passionate and care about the result. Everyone has to understand they have a responsibility to uphold the spirit of cricket but at times it is easier said than done.

Sunday's incident involving Warne has become such a big story because of who he is.

I see a similar parallel here with the Luis Suarez handball incident against Mansfield. The Liverpool striker did what almost any other player would have done but because he is such a high-profile figure, and has a reputation for winning at all costs, the coverage has been blown out of all proportion.

Did anyone really expect him to tell the referee that the ball had hit his hand? Would you go to the local police station and admit to the officer you'd been driving at 33mph in a 30mph zone?

Likewise, if one of the lesser-known Melbourne Stars players had confronted Samuels, I doubt we'd have heard as much about it, but because the clash involved possibly the most famous cricketer of modern times, it was always going to grab the headlines.

The whole affair is also indicative of modern cricket in that there are now so many cameras and microphones everywhere to pick up any indiscretion.

Ten or 20 years ago we wouldn't have been aware of something happening in a domestic game in Australia let alone had a player [Warne] hooked up to a microphone so we could hear his every utterance.

If players had been mic'd up in the 1970s and 80's, I'm sure the man bleeping out the swearwords would have been the busiest man in the ground!

During my career, I remember a particularly fiery match at the Adelaide Oval against Sri Lanka during a triangular series in Australia in 1999.

After Muttiah Muralitharan was no-balled for throwing by umpire Ross Emerson, Sri Lanka threatened to walk off in protest at what they felt was an unfair call and the atmosphere got very heated.

I told my opposing captain Arjuna Ranatunga that his behaviour that day was a disgrace and Darren Gough feigned a headbutt at Roshan Mahanama after the Sri Lankan deliberately obstructed his path to the ball.

It was the least enjoyable game I ever played in and though I cannot condone the conduct and behaviour of all involved it did show to everyone watching just how much the game meant to both teams.

Warne is a great competitor who plays cricket the way I like to see it played. He plays it very hard and stands his ground because he wants to make sure he gives himself and his team the best opportunity of winning.

When I played against him, anything that happened on the field, was never taken off the field and he would always be one of the first in our dressing-room after the match to shake hands and share a beer or an orange juice.

He has done so much for the game and promoted it in such a great way that this recent transgression is a small blip in a phenomenal career.

Warne has admitted his offence, paid his fine and served his ban and fortunately for all cricket fans, now that Melbourne Stars have qualified for the semi-finals, we can put aside any worries about never seeing him on a cricket field again.


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