A TRIBUTE TO THE SPIN WIZARD
Where my ability to spin a cricket ball came from, I honestly don't know. I can only think that I was born with it. I have a skill as a cricketer and fortunately cricket found me.
Shane Warne. A true spin wizard-one of the greatest ever. Warne announced his arrival at a time when fast bowlers ruled the game authoritatively for decades.Spin bowlers were not quite getting the recognition they deserved,that too leg spinners. But Shane took little time to settle down.He made spin bowling look so cool! He had a quintessential role in the rise of Australia as a superpower in cricket in the 90s and 00s.
The journey Warne didn't have a bright start to his career however.The 1993 Ashes series was in fact the turning point in his remarkable career,which started off with his "Ball of the Century" to Mike Gatting.He didn't look back since then.He started becoming an integral part of Australian team and was influential in the team's continued success. He was indeed the first cricketer to claim 600 test wickets and later 700 too, eventually to be overcome by Muttiah Muralitharan who broke the 800 barrier as well. Both of them are incidentally the only two bowlers to have claimed 1000+ international wickets too. He retired from international cricket in 2007 following Australia's 5-0 Ashes clean sweep of England at home. Controversies Warne had his share of controversies both on-field and off-field,the most notable would be the ban from World Cup 2003 for a year,a day before it's start as he tested positive for a banned substance.His personal life was also in the limelight many a times,more often due to the wrong reasons. As I remember... Warne's mastery of leg-spin was so perfect that his opponents were bamboozled on the pitch with no idea of what struck them.The way he twirled his fingers round the ball biting his tongue was a trademark.Perhaps,Sachin Tendulkar was the only batsman who always dominated the bowler in Warne. His IPL heroics wherein he led his team Rajasthan Royals to the title in the inaugural edition of 2008 is also etched perfectly in my memory.The way he carved out a relatively inexperienced team of newbies was the perfect example of leadership.His carefree attitude was his primary strength.I last saw him in real time action during the Cricket All-Stars Series in USA in 2015. Legacy Warnie left behind him a great legacy.So many leggies have we seen after he retired but none better than him.I firmly believe that even to this day, Australia hasn't found a replacement for him in their spin department.He is the perfect example of the axiom that one can succeed in life even after a horrible start to one's ventures. RIP dear Shane Warne! The cricketing fraternity would sorely miss you!