Cricketers pick their favourites

'I don't remember anyone as good as Warne'

Part ten: Few spun the ball as much as Shane Warne did; almost none had his magical accuracy (00:00)

Producer: Ranjit Shinde

April 11, 2012


Shane Warne

'I don't remember anyone as good as Warne'

April 11, 2012

Shane Warne celebrates the wicket of Ashley Giles, England v Australia, Trent Bridge, August 26, 2005
"If you play sport, you want to try yourself against the best, and he was the best" © Getty Images

Shane Warne: if you are going to pick a spinner, then you have to include Warne. He revolutionised the game of legspin. There had been a lot of good players who bowled legspin before him; the reason I think he was unique was because he came on the scene and he spun the ball alarmingly - enormous amounts of spin. Now there have been other other legspinners in the history of the game who bowled balls with quite a lot of spin, but usually they kept bowling the odd long hop or half volley in between the good balls.

Warne has such great accuracy; he could bowl so accurately that he hardly ever gave you a bad ball. So allied to that great spin, supreme accuracy, he could bowl the googly, and then his flipper was the magic ball, as well as his topspinner - four variations. There is a lot of kidology used, saying he'd got this sort of ball and that ball, but really there is only about four deliveries - legspin, googly, topspinner and the flipper. When he had his shoulder injury, yes he couldn't bowl the flipper or the googly so easily, but until he had shoulder trouble he could do them all absolutely brilliantly.

For someone like me, watching him... I would have loved to have had a bat against him. Not because I think I would have been successful or I think I'd have failed, it's just that I would have loved to have the challenge. I don't remember anybody, in my time of playing or my 20 years of commentating, anybody who has been remotely like him or as good. Somebody that good who has performed all over the world - most places in the world he has done great - you would just like to pit your skills, and your wits against him to see how you would come out. It's a challenge. If you play sport, you want to try yourself against the best, and he was the best.

Allied to that, he had such an ebullient character. He could lift people in the team. Great competitor. Probably the one small thing, minus against him - I checked that when he came to India and played nine matches, he took 34 wickets and they cost him 43 runs each. Most people don't realise that he wasn't a great success in India. It's one thing that I think he would probably like to go back and change if he could, because 43 runs per wicket is very, very expensive. But then again, the Indians are pretty good batsmen against spin, aren't they? And they have had some very good players at the time Warne was playing.

Posted by Dinoop86 on (April 12, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

Geoffrey may not Like Murali's action but that doesent make Shane Warne the best spinner in the world.If you say the most difficult spinner to play in this world in any given pitch its Murali. And I agree he is just not a 'classical' spinner as expected by the old school cricketers. But change is a part of any game and Murali is unique with his style. And if anyone has any complaints about Muralis action , this is what i have to tell them.i agree His action is quite unique, but it doesent mean its chucking. if it was chucking then other spinners would have or could have reproduced it quite easily but still you dont see a spinner in the world who can ball with the accuracy that Murali has.Its the same Like Malinga, he has a unique action that orthodox old school fast bowlers do not like. But its a part of evolution of cricket no matter they accept it or not.

Posted by   on (April 11, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

Good list... but i feel it could have been better with the mention of 'record-breakers' from the east. You can overlook statistics but only 'a-little'. Stats does speak... and I am disappointed by exclusion of Asian bowlers who on ANY DAY are better then some mentioned here....

Posted by   on (April 11, 2012, 3:42 GMT)

You forgot to mention how handy a batsman Warne was. Capable of making 99 on a good day :) He was a handy lower order batsman and could help a tail wag or support the Australian middle order when Gilchrist was coming in at 6. See 06/07 Ashes series and how he was there for support for M Clarke and Gilchrist

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