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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Warne Puts His Spin On Giving the Finger

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Australian leg spinner Shane Warne arrived home Thursday for a brief break from the Ashes cricket tour, unrepentant over a controversial one-finger salute to English fans.


The Victoria state captain is back for three days to see wife Simone and new daughter Brooke. But his first matter of business was to explain his gesture to the crowd at Old Trafford after Australia's win in the third test.


He said he had been taunted about his weight by English fans, but it was all good natured and instead of annoying him, it spurred him on to take nine wickets during the test.


English fans regularly sing "Who's been eating all the pies?" at sportsmen leaning toward the plump side.


"They [the crowd] have made up a few songs and have been singing and we just sprayed the champagne around after we had won,'' Warne said. "Then I just showed them my spinning finger, which took a few wickets, and that was about it. If people take offense to that then that's up to them, but all we've been doing is having some fun with the crowd.''


Warne said he saw no point in getting upset by the teasing.


"If you take it to heart it makes it worse for you and it puts you off your game, but I use it more as an inspiration,'' Warne said.


Warne also received criticism from anti-smoking lobbyists in Australia when he was photographed in England smoking a cigar after learning of the birth of his daughter.


"I had just had a baby and I celebrated with the guys,'' he said.


"I didn't ask for the camera to be there but it was there because people wanted to see me celebrate and it just happened that someone took a photo. One of my bad habits is that I smoke but it's not against the law, so everybody is entitled to do it if they like.''