Just watch this turn!
Jonathan Trott has just been talking about Warne’s legacy and he is a firm believer he made leg-spin trendy again. You can see why with balls like the one that bamboozled Andrew Strauss above.
A reader, Robert Wilson, writes: “It’s astounding news, blackly unexpected. And a reminder of mortality for several countryfuls and generations of men (I feel like putting my arms around Viv Richards and asking him only to eat salads). So much to celebrate in his picaresque and operatic career. An irresponsible meteor of talent simultaneously illuminating and terrifying the solar system. The lunatic extremity of his stock ball, the four or five completely fictional new deliveries he made world class batsmen worry about every couple of years, his riotously defiant batting (defiant even when they were ahead) and the deadliest straight ball any spinner will ever bowl. But what I will remember most is early in the 2005 tour my sinking heart and absolutely certainty when English fans and newspapers chanted and chortled that Warney was over the hill and a busted flush. It remains the single most expensive sledge in sporting history. Imagine doing that!”
Warne took his place in Guardian history in 2005 when he featured on the front page of the newspaper’s relaunched Berliner edition. He didn’t have many “bad days” – he was the player of the 2005 series alongside Andrew Flintoff – hence why he was front page news.
To try and define a colourful character such as Warne by statistics alone is daft, but his were not half bad were they?
708 – wickets for Warne in his 145 Tests, behind Sri Lanka star Muralitharan’s 800 but well ahead of third-placed England seamer James Anderson (640).
1,001 – Warne took another 293 wickets in one-day internationals to crack four figures for Australia in all formats – again only behind Muralitharan in the international record books.
99 – Warne’s best Test score as a batter – he has the most Test runs of any batsman not to make a century.
8-71 – his career-best figures across all first-class and limited-overs cricket, in a 1994 Test against England in Brisbane.
195 – Ashes wickets, the most in the competition’s history and 38 more than second-placed Glenn McGrath.
96 – Warne’s Test wicket tally in 2005, including 40 in a memorable Ashes series, remains a record for a player in a single calendar year. Muralitharan is closest behind him with 90 in 2006.
1994 – year Warne took a Test hat-trick, removing England tail-enders Phil DeFreitas, Darren Gough and Devon Malcolm in successive balls. It is one of only 46 hat-tricks in Test history.
450,000 – Warne’s price in the inaugural Indian Premier League auction, where he was bought by Rajasthan Royals. He spent four seasons there as both captain and coach and led them to victory in the first season of the competition.
England Cricket tweets:
Virat Kohli reckons there was no better spinner than Shane Warne: “Life is so fickle and unpredictable. I cannot process the passing of this great of our sport and also a person I got to know off the field. RIP #goat. Greatest to turn the cricket ball.”
And Sachin Tendulkar – like many of us – still can’t get his head around the news:
Sir Viv Richards has tweeted his reaction to Warne’s death:
And here’s the view of an Australian reader, Conor Walsh, who believes Warne was rooted in his childhood. “I’m a 27-year-old Melburnian. It feels like my whole life and view as a cricket fan has been through Warne’s lens. When I was growing up, if anyone ever bowled a nice delivery at lunchtime at school we’d say: ‘Bowling, Shane!’. It was a natural part of our vernacular. He was an icon for us all. A truly shocking loss.”
It is the middle of the night in Australia so many in Warne’s home country will not be aware of the sad news just yet but in England, despite Warne’s ability to heap misery on the national team with such regularity, Warne’s death has left many stunned. Many tributes I have read sum up his personality as much as his incredibly ability – he was always very likeable in England due to his lightness of touch and playfulness.
One reader, Robert Ellson, writes: “I think Warne’s greatness was reflected in the fact that England cricket fans loved him even as he was destroying us in Ashes series after Ashes series. I remember being in the pavilion at Edgbaston in 1993 as the Aussie players came in from their pre-match warm-ups. ‘Go easy on us today, Shane,’ said an English voice from the crowd. “Aw, I can’t do that mate, I’d get in shit,” Warne twinkled back. Lovely.
Of course, Shane Warne announced himself as a cricketing superstar with the Ball of the Century in 1993, when the spinner’s drifting, leaping leg-break bowled England’s Mike Gatting at Old Trafford. We ranked it as our No 1 Ashes moment in 2013. Here’s what Barney Ronay wrote at the time:
Warne’s Ball, a hard-spun leg-break to dismiss Mike Gatting on the third day of the Old Trafford Test, is still jarringly fresh even as it approaches its 20th birthday this Ashes summer. Untarnished by its own celebrity, arteries still unfurred after two decades of richly sauced commemoration, Warne’s Ball remains a pure and entirely self-contained sporting miniature. There may come a point – a thousand YouTube montages, a million lunch interval documentaries from now – where it is possible not to be startled by the impact of that drifting, leaping leg-break (and Gatting’s trudge: never underestimate Gatting’s trudge) but it seems safe to say this is still some way off.
You can read the full piece here:
And here’s the video of that moment of magic:
The England team are in Antigua as they prepare for their Test series against West Indies. They too have been stunned by the news and have just observed a minute’s silence before play resumes on day four of their warmup match.
Ben Stokes tweeted:
Shane Warne (1969-2022)
Shane Warne, one of the finest bowlers of all time who revived the art of leg-spin, has died aged 52 following a suspected heart attack. This is truly shocking news. Not just within cricket but in the wider world, too. Warne was a true sporting icon, a larger than life character whose 708 Test wickets have only been surpassed by contemporary rival and fellow spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
A statement from Warne’s management company said: “It is with great sadness we advise that Shane Keith Warne passed away of a suspected heart attack in Koh Samui, Thailand today, Friday 4 March. Shane was found unresponsive in his Villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived. The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.”
Warne – who was the joint-leading wicket-taker as Australia won the 1999 World Cup and finished with 293 one-day dismissals in 194 matches – brought an illustrious 15-year international career to an end in 2007.
It is an incredibly sad time for Australian cricket, following the news of wicketkeeper Rod Marsh’s death, which Warne was commenting on himself only 12 hours ago. The Australia opener David Warner tweeted:
Two legends of our game have left us too soon. I’m lost for words, and this is extremely sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Marsh and Warne family. I just can not believe it. rip, you will both be missed.
I will bring you the latest tributes here and please email me with your own.
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