I threw up a top-spinning leggie and, as soon as it left my hand it felt good. I spin it right up, high into cold air, batsman going for the drive. Then it dipped.
He kind of got stuck on the crease, playing a half-shot aiming to drive the ball through mid-on.He missed.The ball hit the top of middle stump.
You little ripper!
It kind of sums up the state of excitement, enthusiam that ” Shane Warne” was in when he picked his 700th test match wicket in his home ground, the MCG(Melbourne) , the sea of crowd not only went berserk but was equally emotional that it would be his last test match at his home ground for Australia.
The childhood was tough. Initially, playing football at the club level(St.Kilda football club) an incident due to which he could not make it to the Under- 19’s, but that also opened an opportunity to play cricket for the same club. He performed well for the club and in Shield games for Victoria then went on to represent Cricket Australia.
In his debut test match series against India in 1991/2, his performance was not on par with expectations, dejected he met Terry Jenner , who would bring variation in his bowling from leggies, wrong ‘un to flippers and discpline to the character making him strong both physically and mentally.
The transformation would be visible in a series and match decider against Sri Lanka, in 1992, Chasing a target of 181 at 2/127 , when called on to bowl by Allan Border, he would bowl brilliant spell picking 3/11 without conceding a run and go on to win it by 16 runs to spare.
The following performance in the Boxing day test series against West Indies in December 1992 would be memorable.
The ‘ miracle’ . The ‘ Ball of the Century‘ . Yes, the infamous wicket of Mike Gatting in 1993 Ashes series at Old Trafford in England , will make him a household name at the age of just 23 years.
The art of leg -spin is creating something that is not really there. It is a magic trick, surrounded by mystery , aura and fear.
The journey is not always smooth , prior to playing the world cup 1999 and with just few months to go , injured, but determined that he would make it to the world cup, not only makes it but would also bowl crucial few overs against South Africa, the match which would end up in draw, and based on net run rate his team would make it to the final and go on to win it.
The ‘Famous Five’ in Wisden cricketer of the 20th century along with Jack Hobbs, Donald Bradman, Garfield Sobers, Viv Richards, he feels was a proud moment.
The controversy leading upto the world cup 2003 and finally not being able to make it would be challenging and a good reminder to show resilience and not give up.
The time playing for the county cricket and the Ashes series both at England and Australia in 2005/6 and the famous Adelaide match was interesting to read.
The love for music, Golf, the foundation works and delving a bit into the personal life , reader will get to know a bit of things apart from cricket.
The achievement as a bowler in general, and leg spinner in particular is not easy, considering in his debut test match series agianst India in 1991/2 his bowling figures were 1/228 and from then on to take 708 wickets in his test career , highest by any leg spinner, speaks volume about the character.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: SHANE WARNE, Australian Cricketer
with Mark Nicholas, was presenter and commentator at Sky, Channel 4 and now at Channel 5 and was a sports feature writer with Daily Telegraph and then for Cricinfo.
ISBN : 9781785037702
PUBLISHER: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE UK(IMPRINT: EBURY).