CricketArchive

Shane Warne
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter


Player:SK Warne

DateLine: 17th April 2009

 

Shane Warne in 2000 was rated among the five greatest cricketers of the 20th century. He took a Test hat-trick, won the Man-of-the-Match prize in a World Cup final and was the subject of seven books. He was the first cricketer to reach 700 Test wickets. He swatted more runs than any other Test player without making a hundred, and was probably the wiliest captain Australia never had. His ball that stunned Mike Gatting in 1993, bouncing outside leg stump and hitting off, is unanimously esteemed the most famous in history. He revived leg-spin, thought to be extinct, and is now pre-eminent in a game so transformed that we sometimes wonder where the next champion fast bowlers will come from.

 

For all that, Warne's greatest feats are perhaps those of the last couple of years of his career. Returning in 2004 from a 12-month hiatus for swallowing forbidden diuretics, he swept aside 26 Sri Lankan batsmen in three Tests, and the following year scalped a world record 96 victims - a stunning 24 more than in his show-stopping 1993 - and still missed out on the Allan Border Medal. Forty of those were Englishmen in what sometimes appeared to be a lone stand in a thrilling Ashes series.

 

At the end he was helped by his stockpile of straight balls: a zooter, slider, toppie and back-spinner, one that drifted in, one that sloped out, and another that didn't budge. Yet he seldom got his wrong 'un right and rarely landed his flipper. More than ever he relied on his two oldest friends: deadly accuracy and an exquisite leg-break, except that he controlled the degree of spin - and mixed it - at will. Like the great classical painters, he stumbled upon the art of simplicity. His bowling was never simpler, nor more effective, nor lovelier to look at.

 

Warne is more famous than he is loved. He quit international cricket after regaining the Ashes 2006-07. He was appointed as the captain/coach of IPL 2008 of Rajasthan Royals where he displayed his astute leadership qualities in leading a bunch of no-hopers to the championship tag.

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