Former Australian cricketer Shane Warne was at the centre of a public frenzy Friday over his dramatic weight loss since he started dating British actress Liz Hurley.
Australian blogs and news sites were awash with chatter about Warne's look after new photographs surfaced showing the noticeably slimmer star, who said he had lost 12 kilograms (26 pounds) in two months on a new diet plan.
"I really wanted to drop a few kilos and get super fit for my last year of cricket in the IPL with the Rajasthan Royals," Warne wrote on his official website.
On the advice of a friend's mother he combined diet shakes and low-calorie chocolate with better eating habits and exercise and said he "couldn't be happier with the results."
But the media were less impressed with the new-look Warne, who was snapped glistening with sweat as he left his London home this week, dubbing the once chubby smoker "Wax-Work Warnie" and likening him to a plastic Ken doll. "Hurley's Warnie is suddenly less burly," the Daily Telegraph headline said, declaring the cricket legend "ever-shrinking".
Other News Corp mastheads described him as "Scrawny Warnie" and the "King of Slim" -- a play on his famous "King of Spin" mantle -- and questioned whether the weight loss was orchestrated by Hurley.
Social media sites raged with less polite chatter about the newly tanned and taut Warne, 41. "We'll know Shane Warne is too thin when the next time he orders a diet shake he falls into the straw," wrote one wag on Twitter.
"Is it me or is Shane Warne actually beginning to look like Liz Hurley?" said another.
The celebrity pair responded with good humour on the microblogging site, with Hurley taunting Warne about eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while "you slowly spoon up your thin and tasteless gruel." "I've decided to take full responsibility for SW's remarkable weight loss and will be publishing my secret, possibly evil, regime shortly," the actress, 46, wrote.