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Friday, March 4, 2022

shocking !! - Shane Warne is no more !!!

In 1981 Michael Holding bowled fast, faster and more – troubled Geoff Boycott and cleaned him up too .. .. then there was this ‘ball of the century’ that Cricket World was so fond of.  It was a plumpy, round action leggie – Shane Warne. Warne's first delivery left the sport dumbfounded as he served up the so-called "ball of the century" to Mike Gatting - a drifting, dipping, spitting legbreak, that turned a full two feet from outside leg to hit the top of off. Gatting was so confused, he did not initially realise he had been bowled - and in that moment, Warne exerted a hold over England's batters that was so absolute, they would not come close to reclaiming the Ashes for another 12 years. And even when they did, in the seismic summer of 2005, Warne's fingers were the last to be prised from the urn, as he carried Australia's attack with a career-best haul of 40 wickets.


Like beefy Ian Botham, he was big and fat and appeared everytime that he could deliver much more than his best !  .. alas, he is no more, passing away young. 

‘spin’ is a staple diet dished out in India….  The idiom ‘Spin a tale’ has some negative connotation as it would mean someone telling a long and winding explanation to cook up a story.   When I grew up there was the famous quartet of Bishan singh Bedi, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Srinivasan Venkatraghavan and Erapalli Prasanna. In the late 70s came Dilip Doshi debuting at a ripe 32 and Shivlal Yadav.  Subash Gupte, VV Kumar, BS Chandrasekhar, MV Narasimha Rao, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Narendra Hirwani, Anil Kumble, Amit Mishra, Piyush Chawla ……….all leg spinners – who played for India.    

Remember that Chepauk Test in Sep 1979 – Aussies captained by Kim Hughes (wicket keeper was Kevin John Wright) played Sunil Gavaskar led Indians.  Dilip Doshi making his debut at age 32 and taking 6 wickets was overshadowed by a leg spinner Jim Higgs who had figures of 7/143.  Besides Higgs, there have been some classy leg spinners from the land of Australia dating back to : Bill O'Reilly,  Clarrie Grimmett, Richie Benaud,  Bob Holland,  Shane Warne, Stuart McGill,  Adam Zampa  .. .. 

The more shocking news on the day when we heard Rodney Marsh passing away is - Australia cricket legend and the greatest leg-spinner of all-time, Shane Warne, has died, aged 52. Warne’s management released a brief statement stating that passed away in Thailand of a suspected heart attack. “Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived,” the statement reads.” The family requests privacy at this time ! 

Warne,  was named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Century, claimed 708 Test wickets in a 15-year career for Australia between 1992 and 2007, and was also an ODI World Cup winner in 1999 and did not play 2003 WC for non-cricketing reasons. "Warney", as he was known throughout the cricketing world, was a true icon of world cricket, a man who almost singlehandedly revived the art of legspin in the early 1990s. After an underwhelming debut against India in January 1992, where his solitary wicket came at a cost of 150 runs, (remember his solitary wicket was Ravi Shastri who had scored 206 by that time!),  Warne reached greater heights .. .. becoming the highest wicket taker in Tests, over taken by Muralitharan, overtaking him and .. .. eventually resting at 708 ! 

He retired from international cricket with in the 2006-07 Ashes, leaving the field arm-in-arm with his long-term bowling ally Glenn McGrath   after reclaiming the Ashes with a 5-0 whitewash (the first that Australia had inflicted on England since 1920-21).  Then at the  age of 37, Shane was to be  recruited by Rajasthan Royals to captain their franchise in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and duly delivered the title with 19 wickets at 21.26 in the course of the campaign. Though he went wicketless in the final against Chennai Super Kings, he couldn't be kept out of the action, as he and Sohail Tanvir sealed the victory with the bat in a thrilling final-over finish. Prior to his IPL involvement, Warne had spent eight years (2000-2008) in county cricket with Hampshire, after being recruited as captain by his friend and England rival, Robin Smith. He claimed 276 first-class wickets at 25.59 in his time at the club, and later had a stand at the Ageas Bowl named after him 

Sad and shocking is his untimely passing away ! – his exploits, his action, the spin that he instituted to the Cricket ball would all be remembered – apart from his 708 test wickets, he had 293 ODI wickets in 191 innings – he toured India  in 1998, 2001 & 2004 and played at Chepauk thrice. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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