“I just play because I love playing and I try and take as many wickets as I can”
That’s what legendary Australian cricket player Shane Warne says about the game that made him an international star. He is in the books of history as one of the greatest bowlers of all time. He set records like 708 wickets in 145 tests with a 25 average. At the end of his career, he had accumulated 1,319 first class wickets with a 26.11 average.
Warne made his debut for the team of Victoria in 1991 and his test debut the following year in a game against India that was played in Sydney. Over his career, he surpassed the record of 355 Test match wickets in that had been set by fellow Australian Dennis Lillee in 2000 in New Zealand. In 2004, he was on top of the world when he held the world record for the highest number of Test wickets. His personal best was a test score of 99 and the best bowling figures of 8 for 71 in a game played in 1994/1995 against England.
In addition to the incredible scores, Warne is also known for leg spin bowling which be brought back to the game at a time when what was dominating was fast bowling. He is also famous for the trends he brought into the game with his broad collection of googlies, leg breaks and other kits he used for his leg spin.
About the art of cricket googly, you can find a tutorial here :
Warne’s cricket career also had quite a bit of controversy. Other players would put down the success on tough training regimes and a lot of practice but not him. He was once rubbished critics who called him out for adding weight when the team was on a tour of England. He said, ” It’s simply not true: I put on close to 3 1/2 stone. I came over 81 kg and was just off 100kg when I came back…….I drank every night and ate absolute rubbish.”
He credits his success to his frame of mind. One time when he was not doing very well in his personal life, he was quoted as saying that he still came out and played his best ever of 40 wickets, 250 runs because of his mental strength. He added that he believed this is what enabled him to play so well and that would get him over whatever he was going through.
They were controversial but Warne’s beliefs and approach certainly worked. During the 1990s and 2000s, he put his country at the top including in the Ashes series against England. One of his most memorable moments is when his first ball that dismissed player Mike Gatting who had just come back into the game after having retired in the 1993 World Cup final (video here).
The move won him a Test-hat-trick and Man of the March award. His pitch to Gatting seemingly spun for no less than a foot and bounced outside leg stump which caught Gatting by surprise. The move was unanimously declared the most famous delivery in history.