The death of 52-year-old Australian spin legend Shane Warne has left the sporting world reeling, with cricket mourning arguably the greatest bowler the game has seen and its sports-mad nation a player compared to Don Bradman.
Warne’s 708 wickets – only the Sri Lankan turns the great Muttiah Muralitharan with 800 has more – in 145 Tests puts him on cricket’s highest echelon. To the player with blonde hair and a relaxed bather image that has been embellished by his colorful life outside the game, deserves credit for reviving the difficult art of bowling leg rotation.
He achieved absolute mastery of skill, fused art with aesthetics and topped it off with a rockstar personality. Leg spin requires great control, and Warne has mixed this with flight, drift, revolutions, and varying degrees of turn to leave even the best spin players in a daze.
His ability to guess a batsman’s approach and counter has stood out throughout a career that started with little promise against India in Sydney in 1992 before taking off. His powerful partnership with fast bowler Glenn McGrath helped Australia dominate the game in the 1990s and 2000s.
Warne’s fitness and weight were often discussed, but not with batsmen fooled by his deliveries. Mike Gatting’s “Century Ball” in the 1993 Ashes series may be the most debated, but VVS Laxman’s flight, drift and bowl turn in the 2004 Bengaluru Test is perhaps the most debated. of greater significance as he helped Australia win their first series. in India since 1969 in this Final Frontier Version 2.
The Aussie wins the biggest spinner debate over Muralitharan, who failed to win a Test series in India and whose career has been blighted due to chucking allegations. Warne bounced back from being part of the team that lost the 1998 and 2001 Test series in India, and he came out on top at the 1999 World Cup, helping his team lift the trophy.
Considered the greatest captain Australia has ever had – it was due to his controversies off the pitch – he showed leadership in the Rajasthan Royals IPL title in 2008. Cricket will also miss his insightful observations and his ability to call it as he saw it – never holding back to please the establishment.
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