The retirement of Shane Warne comes as a disappointment for his fans across the world. But everyone has to resign to fate and so this was on cards!
Shane Warne is unarguably one of the greatest leg spinners the world of cricket has seen. In fact it is his bowling which came as a lifeline to ailing art of leg spin bowling and lifted it from dumps.
A character on the field, his off the field ‘antiques’ ensured that he was in the thick of controversies and limelight. But every time a challenge ‘on the field’ surfaced, there was Warne upto the task.
What makes him special is his simple bowling action and the degree of turn which he extracts from wickets. Even mundane wickets which do not offer help to spin around the world such as those in England and South Africa, too responded to his bowling and offered lots of assistance!
His bowling’s uniqueness is the ‘rip’ which he imparts on the bowl. A leg spinner’s turn on the ball is directly proportional to the number of revolutions which he imparts on the ball. This coupled with some others aspects like use of crease, trajectory and loop makes his spin bowling a force to reckon!
It was the culmination of all these in a near perfect proportionthat has gone into the making of Warne. A short run up, simple action, a good pivot, an excellent trajectory and fascinating degree of turn is Warne encapsulated!
Warne embarked in his cricketing career by playing against India but his moment of reckoning came when he got Mike Gatting in Ashes Series. That ball created history for the world saw something that had been lost for decades, a exemplary display of spin bowling with a young bowler extracting turn prodigiously. The ball has been judged as the “ball of the century”, as it pitched outside the leg stump and knocked the off stump of Mike Gatting who played a forward defensive shot. The dismissal left Gatting and the world spell bound. Viewers all over the world knew a leg spinner had arrived to fascinate and stay!
The greatness of Warne lies in the fact that he has picked wickets all over the world and against all cricketing nations. Whether the pitch supports spin was irrespective for the fact is Warne has turned the ball on pitches unsuited for spin bowling.
Another great feature of his bowling was the way he set his batsmen up. Apart from prodigious turn, his googlies, top spinners and drifters left many batsmen around the world bamboozled. He is a bowler who can bowl six different type of deliveries in an over which goes to show the abundant talent he possesses as a leg spinner.
English batsmen form the lion’s share amongst his victims while he has been relative unsuccessful against Indians. His hammering at the hands of Tendulkar when Australia toured India served as a delight to the fans. Warne himself acknowledged that Tendulkar’s treatment gave him nightmares for many a nights to come!
I heard Terry Jenner once, who coached Shane Warne that ‘.. Leg spinners are a rare breed. Not every one is destined to be a leg spinner. It is those whom God taps on the head end up being leg spinners’.
Very true indeed, for Warne is one bowler who enthralled and inspired an entire generation of fans and it will take another entire life for a bowler of his class to come!