Top cricket stories of 2022: death of Shane Warne, resignation of Justin Langer

Twelve successful months for Australia’s men’s and women’s teams on the pitch were offset by turbulent and often sad times off the field. Here are CODE Sports’ top five cricket stories for 2022.

While it has been a hugely successful 12 months of cricket for Australia’s men’s and women’s teams, off the ground 2022 has been a turbulent and quite often dark year.

Not long after a triumphant 4-0 Ashes win, manager Justin Langer was effectively pushed out the door by Cricket Australia and an unfortunate dressing room. After biting his tongue for 10 months, he opened up about his exit in an exclusive interview with Will Schofield.

The year was marked by the untimely deaths of three Australian greats, Rod Marsh, Andrew Symonds and Shane Warne.

In a moving column, Stuart MacGill recalled his time in the shadow of Warne. CODE Sports writer Daniel Cherny also caught up with Dimitri Mascarenhas to find out how Warne’s closest friends rallied around each other after the icon’s death.

But we start our top 5 with a brilliant feature by Paul Amy on the Victorian greatness that never was – Kumar Sarna.

Why cricket lost genius batsman ‘Peter Pan’

Kumar Sarna rose alongside Steve Smith and could have been anything. But at 33, he hasn’t touched a cricket bat in five years. PAUL AMY reveals why the Victorian prodigy left the game.

It was almost 20 years ago, but Warren Ayres remembers it vividly and tells the story with enthusiasm.

Former Victorian batsman Ayres coached Dandenong at Premier Cricket and the club had organized an ‘open day’ for potential young players.

A boy, small and slight, appeared in jeans and a yellow shirt.

Apparently he had expected a lecture and a tour of the pavilion and grounds, not for batting or bowling.

He borrowed some gear and picked up a net at Shepley Oval.

Ayres absorbs the story.

“There was a lot of nets going and someone – it could have been (assistant coach) Craig Slocombe – slapped me on the back and said, ‘You’d better come and see,'” he recalls.

“And then it was just ‘Damn.’ We stood and watched as this boy bombarded the whole place with balls. And we say, ‘What do we have here?’

“At the end of training I asked him where he was playing. I can’t remember which club he was in, but I said, ‘You won’t play there anymore, mate, you come here.'”

Within two years, the young lad opened up batting for Dandenong’s First XI.

Two years later he had a Victorian rookie contract and played alongside the likes of Steve Smith, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood and Phil Hughes for the Australia U19 side.

Then, almost as quickly as he arrived in elite cricket, he was gone, leaving people asking: Hey, what happened to Kumar Sarna?

Read more of this story here

MacGill: Life in the Shadows by Shane Warne

In an emotional tribute, STUART MACGILL explains why he owes his international career to Shane Warne.

The first question I get asked when I meet someone who loves cricket is:

“What was it like living in the shadow of Shane Warne?”

It’s generally framed negatively, as if Shane’s success and mine were somehow mutually exclusive due to the nature of our craft, but I’ve never seen it that way. I regret it, of course, but playing in the same era as Shane Warne was never one of them.

I loved my life in the shadows just as he lived tall in the light.

I think of Shane as a giant sunflower, colorful and vibrant, thriving in the sunlight and captivating all who are lucky enough to see it. I’m more the other type of plant that prefers to spend its days in the shade.

He was the star, I was the stunt double and I think we both played our roles well.

I’m the lucky one in this story.

Read more of this story here

How Warne’s closest circle gathered after the tragedy

One of Shane Warne’s closest cricketing buddies, Dimitri Mascarenhas, has opened up about a special gathering of family and friends following the icon’s tragic death and what it was like to be part of his sanctum.

Dimitri Mascarenhas was unemployed, had broken up with his wife and was stuck in lockdown.

In a time of need and vulnerability, the former England all-rounder knew he had a friend in need.

Without being asked, Shane Warne offered Mascarenhas and his two young sons to move in with him. And to stay as long as he needed.

Mascaren woke up at 5am in Melbourne on Saturday morning and checked his phone. Warne’s personal assistant had tried to call at 1am. Mascarenhas hadn’t woken up. But hundreds of messages brought terrible news.

One of his closest friends had suddenly died.

He felt numb. He couldn’t get out of bed for a few hours.

Eventually, Mascarenhas received a call from former St Kilda captain Aaron Hamill, another of Warne’s close associates. They had to mourn together.

Read more of this story here

Langer: “Everyone was nice to me”

Justin Langer opens up on his disappointment with ‘cowardly’ leaks, whether he lost Australia dressing room and what he would have changed, writes WILL SCHOFIELD.

Justin Langer insists that during his tenure as head coach of Australia men’s cricket team he had no problem receiving confrontational feedback from captains, players and staff – but he balked at a seemingly leaky campaign that ultimately undermined his position.

Almost 10 months after stepping down from the role following Cricket Australia’s decision to only offer him a six-month contract extension, Langer outlined the feedback he had received from three captains – Tim Paine, Aaron Finch and Pat Cummins – and his willingness to engage and develop.

Langer said he respects direct feedback, similar to that he’s received from past executives like Allan Border and Steve Waugh, and has found it difficult to understand why some senior executives have struggled to give it.

“That’s the killer for me,” Langer said.

Read more of this story here

Gayle and Co: How a Park Side Signed T20 Superstars

Chris Gayle. Shoaib Malik. Fidel Edwards. Suranga Lakmal and some friends. This is the story of the once-struggling Endeavor Hills subbies and their remarkable seven-day signature tour, writes PAUL AMY.

It is Melbourne’s south-east cricket club that has gone global.

Endeavor Hills plays in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association, the state’s second tier of cricket.

It began on April 3 when the Hills announced that Sri Lankan Test batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, who played three games for the club last season, would return as a full-time player.

On April 4, they confirmed they had signed West Indies under 19-speed bowler Matthew Forde.

April 5th broke the news that veteran Pakistani all-rounder Shoaib Malik would join Endeavor Hills. West India paceman Fidel Edwards was also rolled out on the same day.

On April 6, former Indian star Akshay Ballal signed a new one-year contract with the Hills.

On April 8, they unrolled Sri Lankan test pacemaker Suranga Lakmal as another recruit.

And on April 10th came the big hit: “Universe Boss has signed with the Eagles”.

The great Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan, who joined the club last season, has been reappointed as captain.

But how do they do it, everyone asks.

Read more of this story here

Endeavor Hills found themselves in the news again when a man linked to the club was charged by police with allegedly cheating $250,000 to sign world stars. Top cricket stories of 2022: death of Shane Warne, resignation of Justin Langer

Ryan Sederquist

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