I must admit that Shane Warne was never my favourite sportsman - a skilled bowler, but needlessly unpleasant in his on-field behaviour, exulting obscenely when getting a wicket, and pouting petulantly when any ball he bowled failed to do so.
As a retired bowler and before discovering the delights of Liz Hurley, rather than letting his balls get mildewed, he developed a line of men's underpants, endorsed by him, and called: "Spinners". But I shall always think of them as Shaneys. Whether in fact they will bowl a maiden over, remains to be seen.
What caught my eye was a statement he made promoting these nether garments: "Getting up in the morning, and putting on a pair of underpants is important to me. And I think a lot of people think like that." Indeed we do, Warney! Many's the morning I have lingered in bed far longer than I should, anticipating and postponing that delicious moment of pleasure when one will slide first one, and then the other leg, into a pair of underpants, a delight that has not received the attention and respect it truly deserves.
Spinners actually look rather ordinary, in shape, colours and design. He's quoted as saying he "did not rule out expanding the jocks into an overseas market." Hmm, expanding jocks? Also he said "he was hands on from start to finish." Which might be actually illegal in some jurisdictions.
Over the years, there seem to have been far more problems arising from sportsmen who don't keep their underpants on when they ought to, than from the design of those they do wear. We know that celebrities are usually just earning money by putting their names on products (they never seem keen to market anything we actually need, or without getting paid), they generally all seem to feel they need to pretend to have been profoundly artistically involved.
Growing his own hair
What eventually happened about his marketing that hair treatment he endorsed? Wasn't it supposed to make a rather modest amount of hair look like rather more than it actually was? Rather similar, come to think of it, to underpants carrying strategic stuffing to enhance one's profile. His TV ads seem to have disappeared, for the Advanced Hair Studio. "I'm re-growing my own hair" he announced, proudly. Well, Shaney, better than re-growing someone else's! The British Advertising watchdog apparently branded his ads there as misleading for implying that the Studio could reduce or reverse hair loss, rather than simply improving its appearance. That's the trouble with these Aussie bowlers: too much spin.
Didn't he have problems with Crocket authorities back in 2003, for taking a banned substance, a diuretic? In a version of the "I didn't inhale" defence, he said he took just one, to improve his appearance.
Anyhow, perhaps he's merely telling us that, unlike Superman, he puts the underpants on first, before the trousers, like most of us? He said these "socks and jocks" are "sports-inspired". Let us devoutly pray that we will never see Warne, then a podgy peroxide blonde, before his more recent transformation, actually modelling the stuff. It was enough at the time to see him leering as he knelt in front of a brace of young fellows all bulging in the appropriate gear.
Colourful underwear is an interesting phenomenon, as unless you actually get your kit off in front of someone else, only you know, with a smug sense of private glee, what hues lurk under your trousers.
I obviously failed to keep up with this variety of celebrity spin-offs (or spin-ons). I was aware of the number of rather tacky perfumes launched by celebs, usually claiming that in some mysterious way they developed the exact aroma. There were underwear lines linked to former bowler Brett Lee (why always bowlers, and never batsmen?) and former tennis star Bjorn Borg. Of course there were the posters of David Beckham posing in a pair of designer underpants, and looking as though he had packed a spare pair within them.
But the pattern exists, as, marching under the flag of celebrity, fashion and sport walk side by side. I eagerly await further developments, as the energetic Heidi Klum and the ever-glum Kate Moss will surely soon work as cricket coaches.
Still, the questions haunt me. Did his sporting experience really give him an inside edge over other promoters of underwear? The garments seemed indeed to feature a crease, but not, I hope, a Popping Crease. No built-in boxes, at any rate, or visible pads. Not too tight, lest one get caught behind. Does one dress to the leg side?
(Professor MA Simpson, aka CyberShrink, October 2011)