Inarguably the best leg-spinner in cricket, Shane Warne has created many magical moments on the pitch, mesmerising players with his craft and bamboozling many batters with his brilliance.
Warne, who passed away in Thailand due to suspected heart attack, according to his management team, was a flamboyant figure off the field too, controversial to the core as he was not afraid to speak his mind.
Though while taking his 708 wickets in 145 Test matches and 293 wickets in 194 ODIs, Shane Warne sent down many memorable deliveries.
‘Ball of the Century’
But none symbolised his impact on the game better than the ‘Ball of the Century’ with which he outwitted England batter Mike Gatting at Old Trafford in Manchester on the 1993 tour.
It was his first delivery against England in Test cricket, landed in the rough, way outside the leg stump, spun viciously and sneaked past Gatting’s ample backside to clip the off-stump, leaving everyone stunned.
Gatting, who had left the delivery as a wide one, stood wide-eyed for a few seconds before trudging back to the pavilion, disbelief writ large on his face.
Another impact performance that Warne produced in Test cricket also came against old rivals England. Warne came up with a magical spell on the fifth and final day of the Adelaide Test in 2006. With four wickets, the Aussie leg-spinner turned a match that looked heading to a draw on its head and Australia snatched a famous victory.
Not only in Tests, but Warne also came up with some brilliant spells in One-day International cricket, making great contributions to Australia’s success in the shorter format of the game.
He created some magic in the 1999 World Cup semi-final against South Africa. Defending a target of 214, Australia needed a breakthrough as South Africa were looking dangerous in the chase. The leggie, who claimed 12 wickets in the preliminary phase of the World Cup, captured three wickets in three overs to shift the momentum Australia’s way. And though the match ended in a dramatic finish with Alan Donald run out on the last ball, Warne bagged the Man of the Match award for his four wickets.
Australia went on to win the World Cup, beating Pakistan in the final.
Born to German-born Bridgette and Keith Warne on September 13, 1969, in Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria, Warne produced magic even after retiring from international cricket. His influence was evident when he led an unheralded Rajasthan Royals, with no big-name cricketers in their ranks, to the title in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament in 2008. He mentored the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan, Swapnil Asnodkar and Kamran Khan, coaxing them to perform their best for the Royals.