Cricket: Warne's gesture escapes censure

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The Independent Online
SHANE WARNE has escaped disciplinary action after a middle-finger gesture to the Scottish section of the crowd during Sunday's World Cup match against Scotland at Worcester. The incident came the day after the Australian leg-spinner was fined and censured for comments criticising the Sri Lankan captain, Arjuna Ranatunga.

On Sunday, Warne, standing at first slip, raised one finger to a contingent of Scottish supporters who taunted him, displaying an inflatable whale and shouting "save the whale" every time Warne turned around. But Warne's finger went up when the gang repeated "he ate all the pies".

One result of Warne's behaviour is that Australian players writing newspaper columns during the World Cup will have their articles vetted. The move follows the furore over a piece by Warne in last week's Times when he said the sport would be better off without Ranatunga because of his on- field antics.

The Australian Cricket Board's chief executive, Malcolm Speed, said: "Shane and the other players who are writing columns have been directed to provide a hard copy of any proposed article to the team manager and, if he's not happy with it, it would be rejected."

Sri Lankans applying for British visas to watch the World Cup have to undergo a cricket quiz as part of the screening process, according to British High Commission officials in Colombo. They said the questions, which include the names of the countries taking part, were to find out whether applicants were bona fide cricket fans. Some 600 Sri Lankans had applied for visas by last week but there had been only 25 rejections, officials said.

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