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Shane Warne: The Wizard of Oz Who Delivered the Ball of the Century Shane Warne
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Shane Warne: The Wizard of Oz Who Delivered the Ball of the Century

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 04 Mar 2022, 11:16 pm

A young Australian spinning talent had once left English cricketer Mike Gatting stunned during an Ashes match when his delivery drifted, and pitched outside leg and then fizzed back across the batsman to bowl him out, heralding the arrival of a champion cricketer.

The year was 1993 and Shane Warne, though had made his Test debut in 1992, earned the much needed recognition in the longer format of the game with the stunning dismissal of the English batsman.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shane Warne (@shanewarne23)

The dismissal became one of the iconic moments of the game and it is being rightly called the ‘ball of the century’.

Shane Warne, the warrior who had survived the dying art of wrist spin and inspired several generations to adopt the format, passed away on Friday in Thailand due to a suspected heart attack.

“Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived,” Warne’s management confirmed in a statement to the Australian media.

Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian batting icon, who had left fans amazed with his on field rivalry against Shane, said he will miss the Australian star.

He posted: "Shocked, stunned & miserable…Will miss you Warnie. There was never a dull moment with you around, on or off the field. Will always treasure our on field duels & off field banter. You always had a special place for India & Indians had a special place for you. Gone too young!"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shane Warne (@shanewarne23)

Another icon, ex-West Indies captain Brian Lara, called Shane Warne his friend and tweeted: "And speechless at the moment. I literally don’t know how to sum up this situation. My friend is gone!! We have lost one of the Greatest Sportsmen of all time!! My condolence  goes out to his family. RIP Warnie!! You will be missed."

Warne will also be remembered for his master performance in the 1999 World Cup which had played a crucial role in helping Australia, led by Steve Waugh, to lift the trophy for the second time in the history of the tournament.

One of the high points in his career was the 1999 showpiece event when he had picked up 20 wickets at 18.05, including 4-33 in the final against Pakistan to be named player-of-the-match.

Warne was also a part of five Ashes-winning sides between 1993 and 2003.

The greatness of Shane Warne echoed in the words of Australia skipper Pat Cummins, who is currently busy playing Test series against Pakistan, as he said: "Warnie was an all time great, a once in a century type cricketer, and his records will live on forever."

"We all grew up watching Warnie, idolising him, we all had posters on his wall, had his earrings," he was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia website.

Warne was Australia's leading Test wicket-taker as he had hunted down 708 dismissal during his 15-year international career that spanned between 1992 to 2007.

He played 145 Tests – only Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting (both 168) and Allan Border (156) – donned the Baggy Green Cap more often, and Warne also represented his country in 194 one-day internationals, as per Cricket Australia website.

He was named one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the 20th Century, alongside fellow Australian Sir Donald Bradman, West Indians Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Vivian Richards, and England's Sir Jack Hobbs.

Apart from his remarkable performance on the field, the iconic cricketer had also grabbed headlines for his flamboyant lifestyle, relationships and sex scandals involving among others the much publicised circulation of explicit images with women.

After his retirement from international cricket at the completion of Australia's 2006-07 Ashes whitewash over England, Shane Warne preferred to play T20 cricket across the globe.

He led a young Rajasthan Royals squad to win the opening Indian Premier League title in 2008, showing his brilliance both as a coach and a captain.

The Australian master played his final competitive match for Melbourne Stars in the KFC BBL in 2013.

Cricket Australia received a double blow on Friday as wicketkeeper  Rod Marsh died due to heart attack. He was 74.

Infact , Shane's last tweet was all about paying tribute to the cricketer when he wrote some hours before his own death: "Sad to hear the news that Rod Marsh has passed. He was a legend of our great game & an inspiration to so many young boys & girls. Rod cared deeply about cricket & gave so much-especially to Australia & England players. Sending lots & lots of love to Ros & the family. RIP mate."

(Writing by Supriyo Hazra)