Tofael Mahmud |
Mar 05, 2022 5:39:58 p.m.
Mar 05, 2022 6:15:23 p.m.
Shane Warne’s passing has sent shockwaves through the cricketing fraternity, with his tweet for the disappearance of fellow Australian legend Rodney Marsh just 12 hours before.
The passing of Shane Warne marks the end of an illustrious career as both a skilled cricketer and an extraordinary intellectual of the game.
Warne’s greatest contribution to cricket may have revived an art that was considered a thing of the past in the game of cricket, perhaps as evidenced by current perceptions about cricket, where we hardly see a team without legs in shorter formats of the game.
Warne was the product of the Australia Institute of Sports – a program aimed at nurturing Olympians which then added a wing for cricket after the dismal performance of the Aussies in Ashes in the 1980s.
Often ridiculed for his obese body and perpetual penchant for self-destruction, Warne’s rise to power was a tale of wonders.
Warne’s debut against India in 1992 was just another chapter to forget in his struggle. Claiming one after playing over 40 overs invited a lot of pessimism. Thanks to her captain, Allan Border, who observed what no one could see in the twenty-two-year-old blonde Victorian.
Comes the moment, comes the man. What he engineered with his first pitch on the biggest stage in Test cricket simply defies impossibility. The Ball of the Century at the 1993 Ashes at Old Trafford was a wake-up call for batters everywhere, especially as it was up against Mike Gatting – England’s most trusted resistance tool against spin at the era.
It was the start of Australia’s dominance, and Warne seemed to be at the forefront of the idea. Warne’s success story continued with Australia claiming the Ashes in 1994 and Warne was an integral part of that victory. His first hat trick came in this Ashes.
Perhaps Shane Warne’s magic worked most viciously in the 1996 World Cup semi-final, terrorizing the Windies runners-up to hand Australia an unlikely victory.
Warne’s lowest point in injury terms came during this period when he had to undergo surgery and miss a significant number of matches for Australia.
When he returned to another World Cup in 1999, his struggle seemed to peak and looked ordinary in the group stages. But his mentality and willpower leveled him, and eventually he got back up and won man of the match in the 1999 World Cup final, finishing the tournament as the most common wicket taker.
Warne’s impact on the game was far reaching and recognition duly arrived in 2000 when he joined the illustrious company of Bradman, Hobbes, Richards and Sobers as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Century.
Warne’s dominance did not follow him to India, where he remained surprisingly unsuccessful. His lack of productivity meant Australia suffered their first loss in a Test series for years in 2001 in India.
Apart from a six-wicket haul on his last tour of India, his performance is barely notable, but his contribution to series wins in Sri Lanka and Pakistan speaks to how dangerous he was in that subcontinent. .
It is often said that Warne is the best leader Australia has ever had. In 2003, he missed the chance to lead the Australians to the World Cup after testing positive for a doping test.
However, the big man returned in style in Ashes 2005, albeit in a losing cause, claiming 40 wickets in the series.
It was one of the highlights of his career and the change in chants of the English crowd from ‘where’s your miss’ to ‘I wish you were English’ clearly demonstrates the caliber and stature of the man.
Australia and Warne did lose the Ashes in 2005 in agonizing fashion, he made up for it by shutting out England in the following Ashes in Australia.
This is, of course, a touching farewell to one of the game’s immortals. What he has done for the gentleman’s game may just be rivaled by a few notables.