Cricket: Warne caught out by wide delivery from reporter

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Shane Warne stalked angrily out of a press conference in Melbourne yesterday after being asked a question about his weight.

Warne was attending the unveiling of a waxwork double for Madame Tussaud's at a cafe he part owns in Australia, when he was asked by a television reporter if he preferred the shape of his wax image, which looked considerably leaner than the leg spinner.

After a few moments' silence, during which Warne visibly reddened, he said: "That's why I don't answer any questions from you blokes. That's it, you've ruined it. Thanks very much."

Then, to the astonishment of the gathering, Warne stepped down from the podium after spending only a minute before the cameras and stormed from the room.

Warne's weight was a favourite target for chanting sections of English supporters during Australia's Ashes tour earlier this year and recently there has been comment about a noticeable expansion of his waistline and face. Some have speculated that he is as much as a stone overweight.

Even the touring South African cricketers have noticed, targeting him for on-field sledging and Geoff Marsh, the Australia coach, said last weekend he was concerned about Warne's weight and had asked the bowler to monitor his diet.

Even so, Warne was in good spirits when he arrived for the function and applied his trademark zinc cream to the lips and nose of the wax dummy. He then invited the media to "feel free to ask any questions". When one reporter took him at his word, Warne took offence and left.

He will need to develop a thicker skin, like Australia's Test captain Mark Taylor, who had to learn to be more resilient about his weight, having been given the nickname "Tubby" early in his career.