How Hampshire are still reaping the benefits of culture change implemented by former captain Shane Warne

Director of cricket Giles White believes the ‘values’ Shane Warne brought to Hampshire are still being felt to this day.

By Simon Carter
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 3:43 pm
Flashback to 2000 and the last ever Championship game played at Burnaby Road in Portsmouth. This picture was taken in the Portsmouth Area Committee’s marquee during the match against Kent when Shane Warne had a memorable duel with Indian superstar Rahul Dravid. The latter made a century before Hampshire's ‘other’ leg spinner, Giles White, dismissed him. Robin Smith, who bowled the occasional leg-break for Hampshire, and Alan Castell  - the previous specialist Hampshire leg-spinner before Warne's arrival - are also pictured. Photo courtesy of Dave Allen.
Flashback to 2000 and the last ever Championship game played at Burnaby Road in Portsmouth. This picture was taken in the Portsmouth Area Committee’s marquee during the match against Kent when Shane Warne had a memorable duel with Indian superstar Rahul Dravid. The latter made a century before Hampshire's ‘other’ leg spinner, Giles White, dismissed him. Robin Smith, who bowled the occasional leg-break for Hampshire, and Alan Castell - the previous specialist Hampshire leg-spinner before Warne's arrival - are also pictured. Photo courtesy of Dave Allen.

White was part of the squad when the Australian leg-spinning legend first played for the county in 2000.

‘It was amazing. I was starstruck, we all were,’ White recalled. ‘He had such a presence, it was like playing with a rock star! It was great fun.’

White had retired from playing, though, when Warne returned to skipper Hampshire between 2004-2007.

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Warne - who sadly passed away last month, aged just 52, after suffering a heart attack on holiday in Thailand - failed to prevent the county being relegated from the top tier of the Championship in his first spell.

But it was a different story in his second. Warne returned to the south coast with Hampshire in a deep rut. Having been relegated again from Division 1 of the four-day league again in 2002, the county finished second bottom of the second tier 12 months later.

In 32 games across those two seasons, Hampshire managed just four wins.

Winds of change were to blow through The Ageas Bowl under Warne’s captaincy, though. He was to alter the club’s culture through sheer force of personality and presence.

In his first season as skipper, Hampshire won nine of their 16 games to win promotion behind champions Nottinghamshire. The next year, 2005, they again won nine games - 18 wins in 32 matches, compared to four in 32 prior - and finished runners-up once more to Notts. It was the closest Hampshire had got to winning the Championship since 1974.

Warne missed the second half of the 2005 Championship season as he was on Ashes duty - finishing as the leading wicket-taker, albeit on the losing side in one of the most memorable series of all time. But, in his absence, Hampshire kept on winning - in both red and white ball cricket.

They were to finish third and fifth in the Championship under him in 2006 and 2007. In the county’s first post-Warne season, they finished third again.

During Warne’s second spell, Hampshire also won the 2005 C & G Trophy and claimed promotion from the second tier of the 40-over league. They were also beaten finalists in the 2007 Trophy final.

Within three years of his departure, Hampshire had won the Trophy once more and the first of two T20 titles.

Recalling Warne’s time with the county, White told The News: ‘He changed the character of the team.

‘The late Shane Warne told us we could always find a way to win.

‘He taught us how to win again, and he taught us humility. He treated everyone the same.

‘The things he taught us then are the same things we have today.’

Last summer, Hampshire produced some remarkable wins across different formats.

They were up against it in the Championship when they had to win their last group game at Gloucestershire to qualify for Division 1. Travelling without skipper James Vince, Liam Dawson and Mohammad Abbas, they still won.

In their second Division 1 game, they were bowled out for 89 by Warwickshire on the first day. Yet they hit back to beat the eventual champions.

In the T20 Blast, Hampshire won their final five group games to qualify for the knockout stages, rising from bottom spot to fourth place. In their last game, they bludgeoned 187 runs in just incredulous overs to beat Glamorgan and boost their run rate.

Drawn away to favourites Notts in the quarter finals, Hampshire were restricted to just 125-9. But, again, they found a way to win, progressing by two runs in a nerve-shredding climax.

Warne would have been proud of his former county

‘Against Glamorgan and Nottinghamshire we showed the values that Shane Warne brought to the club,’ said White.

Hampshire are due to pay tribute to Warne on the first day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match against Somerset tomorrow (Thursday).

Members and anyone else in attendance will be invited to join players and staff on the pitch at the start of the lunch break.