Shane Warne January 27, 2009

A wizard, a star

An undisputed legend who mastered cricket's most difficult discipline - not least its mental aspects
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Everything about Warne's bowling was thought-through, appealing included © Getty Images
 

I was in Melbourne recently when I spied an interesting advertising banner. It said: "Coming soon, Shane Warne the musical." I stopped. A musical about a cricketer. Really? But then it was Warne, a larger-than-life cricketer, who had the most colourful of journeys and a career of triumph on the field and controversy off it, inciting awe, wonder and criticism along the way. A musical? Why not? And if I were asked to pick a soundtrack, Frank Sinatra's "My Way" would be the automatic choice.

Love him or hate him, we were definitely very lucky to have him. Warne may have self-destructed at times off the field, ruining his chances of being one of Australia's greatest captains, but on the field he was an undisputed legend, a legspinner of the highest class with a wizard's cricket brain. I still find it amazing that we had Warne, Murali and Kumble all at the same time, cricket's equivalent of the Three Tenors.

As a schoolboy, I first watched Warne play at the Sinhalese Sports Club back in August 1992. During the first innings he was mashed to all corners, conceding 107 from 22 wicketless overs. But when Sri Lanka came out to chase just 181 for victory, he showed his now famous instinct for grabbing the limelight at the right time, claiming 3 for 11 from 5.1 overs. We collapsed from 127 for 2 to 164 all out, one of our most painful defeats to this day. Yet, still, at that stage, there was no obvious indication that within less than a year Warne would be well on the way to becoming the greatest legspinner to play the game.

I may be no bowler, but I know one thing: the art of legspin is very, very hard to perfect. It offers the greatest opportunity for variety to bamboozle and deceive, but problems with control, accuracy and injuries are common. Warne surmounted nearly all these challenges with astounding success. His greatest strength was his control. He could bowl legbreaks of varying turn, a straight one, top spinner, the flipper and an occasional googly. This variety is amazing but it was the control of these variations that made him so potent. It allowed him to adapt every aspect of his bowling to suit the pitches he played on. He was a master of his own turn, line and length.

I remember well how he would tease you. In one over he could make you play stump to stump, from leg to off and back again. Right-handed batsmen would be greeted by big-turning legbreaks, which would result in them covering the line of the ball with their pads. Slowly, delivery by delivery, Warne would coax the batsmen to put their front pads across their stumps, setting them up for an lbw to his straight one.

He had many other ploys up his sleeve too. He would change the angle of delivery by going round the wicket. He would vary pace and flight, even drift, at will. He developed the flipper, a delivery that that had everyone guessing for a couple of seasons while his shoulder was at its strongest.

When a pitch did not offer him much, and if a right-hander got on top of him, he would resort to bowling round the wicket into the rough - a traditionally negative tactic that he enterprisingly turned into an attacking option, embarrassing many of us along the way, as apparently harmless deliveries sneaked through the back door.

He had no one tactic against me but he usually tried to cut out my lofted drive over mid-on. He then tried to put me under pressure, drying up the runs and then trying to tempt me to play an expansive drive outside off stump.

Playing him was never easy and always highly intense. He expertly scanned and analysed your technique and game plans, probing for chinks and weaknesses to exploit. He was a master of the mental game and loved playing mindgames. In between overs and deliveries he'd let you overhear snippets of conversations with his wicketkeeper and captain during which he explained your coming demise, openly announcing his tactics with a gleeful spark in his eye. He would cleverly manoeuvre his field, opening up spaces and trying to distract you. You knew it was all an act, but it still got you thinking.

The thing was, he was so often four to five steps ahead of us. Like a brilliant chess player who looks into the future, planning several moves ahead, Warne hunted down his prey over a series of overs, setting them up.

He backed his craft up with confident, intimidating and effective appealing - which bagged him a huge number of lbws. Every aspect of his bowling was thought through.

His talent and cunning aside, another reason for his success was undoubtedly the quality of the Australian pace attack, and Australia's powerful top-order batting. The quicks routinely made early inroads, creating pressure for Warne to exploit, and the batsmen added to this with mountains of runs, giving him the luxury of dictating terms.

 
 
Right-handed batsmen would be greeted by big-turning legbreaks, which would result in them covering the line of the ball with their pads. Slowly, delivery by delivery, Warne would coax the batsmen to put their front pads across their stumps, setting them up for an lbw to his straight one
 

The most fascinating duels he has had were with Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar. Both great batsmen have always carried the attack to Warne. They would use their feet and were unafraid to drive, sweep and loft the ball. This kind of attacking method was always more successful against Warne; a defensive game focused only on survival just played into his hand, allowing him to slowly work you over.

Injury dogged him in the latter stages of his career, and the strain on his shoulder forced him to undergo surgery. It also gave rise to doubts as to whether he would be the same bowler when he returned, doubts he put quickly to rest with his performances in the 2005 and 2006 Ashes. It showed the amount of enthusiasm he had for the game, as well as the mental toughness that has carried him through many controversies without affecting his focus on the game.

The great tragedy, though, was that he did not get to bring his cricketing intelligence to bear on the job of captaining Australia. He showed with both Hampshire and the Rajasthan Royals just how good a leader he could have been in international cricket. During the IPL, he clearly inspired those around him, and his man-management skills were brilliant. He planned the tournament and clearly mapped out roles for his side, and on the field he led with creative flair and a sense of adventure.

Warne would have made a great Australia captain, but he has no one to blame but himself for not being given a proper chance. His cricketing intelligence was counterbalanced by his off-field volatility. He created too many problems for himself over the years - the drugs scandal at the 2003 World Cup was surely his darkest hour. He learnt the hard way and will surely have regrets as he looks back on a glittering career.

Personally, I enjoyed our battles and I grew to respect him as a person after the 2004 tsunami. I think we all saw a different side to him then with the way he helped. The gesture of coming to Sri Lanka was a fine one. It was touching to see that human commitment.

It is impossible to do justice to this blond-haired spin magician in a simple column. He lived life large on and off the field with no apology. A cricketer with an old-world flamboyance and panache, who rejuvenated and modernised the art of legspin. Not your stereotypical gentleman cricketer, he was a genius of rare brilliance which we will remember in all its glory, though I doubt we will see its like again.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Philip_Gnana on January 29, 2009, 12:13 GMT

    Nice one here Kumar. The cricketing gods have from time to time blessed us fans with "fantastically" talented plays. Shane Warne is there in the top bracket. In the recent IPL he just showed us what sort of a motivator he is by winning the trophy for his team as player/coach. No doubt, the youngsters just looked to him for leadership and direction and Shane delivered. He would not have taken on that role if he could not do it. It just motivated him and gave him that hunger to prove again what he is made of. I remember that famous "Gatting delivery" which has now been adapted by many. The OZ do really miss his services no doubt about that. You cannot even think of replacing Warney. How could you? It would be an insult to a cricketing great. Long may cricket treasure Warney. Many will come and many will go..but Warney will be there always for us to treasure. Thank heavens that we have memory to count on and countless videos/dvds/books on him. Philip Gnana, New Malen, Surrey

  • prashant1 on January 29, 2009, 6:09 GMT

    Oh yeah, Warney was something. Some of the greatest,most fascinating and riveting battles I've ever seen was "Warne vs Tendulkar', in both Tests and ODIs.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on January 28, 2009, 22:28 GMT

    Warne was the greatest......end of........Sanga is a fine columnist and no contemporary international cricketer writes better in the English language with the possible exception of Akash Chopra. However, as a commentator on the game, he is not in the league of Ian Chappell or even Peter Roebuck.

  • v.venkatramakrishnan on January 28, 2009, 17:50 GMT

    Wonderfully written article!!!! Keep going Sanga... I am hoping to see you write about Murali and Sanath....

  • Sudzz on January 28, 2009, 13:55 GMT

    Why ask for feedback and call it your say when you don't publish any form of criticism?

    If it really is supposed to encourage readers to give feedback and get involved then unless obscene and improper posts should not be deleted.

    What I wrote was a personal opinion wherein I stated that I did not like the quality of writing I don't think there was much wrong in what I said.

    Finally I don't really care if my feedback is deemed worthy of being posted or not but it indicates to me that Cricinfo only prefers sycophantic over the top eulogies and not honest feedback..

  • popcorn on January 28, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    Shane Warne was undoubtedly the best leg spinner in the game of cricket. However, to hypothecate that he would have made a wonderful Test captain for Australia is stretching his Hampshire and Rajasthan Royals captaincy experience too far. Test cricket and 50 over cricket are a different contest altogether. Whatever opportunities he got to captain Australia in 50 over cricket were not earthshaking. So shall we revel in the joy of his leg spin and consign the "would have been" to fairy tales?

  • Percy_Fender on January 28, 2009, 5:09 GMT

    In assessing his greatness fairly in the light of Kumar Sangakarra's articulate essay on Warne, it would be good if Cricinfo could provide statistics of the number of lbw decisions he managed to get by his very persuasive appealing, as also the number of wickets he got from No 7 of the opposing batting order. He had limited success in India but did better in his second visit. I feel Shane Warne got much more importance that former leg spinning greats like Gupte,and Qadir because they played in earlier eras when the art of leg spin was not so compelling to view. That could have been because these were from the sub continent at a time when cricket was ruled by the Australians the Englishmen and the South Africans. Also perhaps is because there was no TV coverage or the hype we see these days. The money in the game just enough to survive.

  • sri1010 on January 28, 2009, 2:41 GMT

    Excellent Kumar,

    Every generation has brought forth players, who have done wonders for their country and the game. Bowling in itself is an art and leg spin bowling is a gift that is honed to perfection. You will always keep getting such wonders Like Warne and Murali. Now you have Ajantha Mendis and who knows how many more wornders Sri Lanka have up their sleeve. It is a privilege for those players who have played against Warne, Murali & Kumble.

  • nick_japan_2007 on January 27, 2009, 23:43 GMT

    Well written! I look forward to reading your next piece.

  • jayray999 on January 27, 2009, 22:41 GMT

    How well you write Kumar. It is a joy to read. Lucky man. You will never be short of a profession even in old age. Osman Samiuddin is the only other Cricinfo regular whose prose I enjoy. But yours is the cleaner style and might I add, backed by a better batting average. Warne couldn't pay someone to write a better, more believable tribute. Hats off.

  • Philip_Gnana on January 29, 2009, 12:13 GMT

    Nice one here Kumar. The cricketing gods have from time to time blessed us fans with "fantastically" talented plays. Shane Warne is there in the top bracket. In the recent IPL he just showed us what sort of a motivator he is by winning the trophy for his team as player/coach. No doubt, the youngsters just looked to him for leadership and direction and Shane delivered. He would not have taken on that role if he could not do it. It just motivated him and gave him that hunger to prove again what he is made of. I remember that famous "Gatting delivery" which has now been adapted by many. The OZ do really miss his services no doubt about that. You cannot even think of replacing Warney. How could you? It would be an insult to a cricketing great. Long may cricket treasure Warney. Many will come and many will go..but Warney will be there always for us to treasure. Thank heavens that we have memory to count on and countless videos/dvds/books on him. Philip Gnana, New Malen, Surrey

  • prashant1 on January 29, 2009, 6:09 GMT

    Oh yeah, Warney was something. Some of the greatest,most fascinating and riveting battles I've ever seen was "Warne vs Tendulkar', in both Tests and ODIs.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on January 28, 2009, 22:28 GMT

    Warne was the greatest......end of........Sanga is a fine columnist and no contemporary international cricketer writes better in the English language with the possible exception of Akash Chopra. However, as a commentator on the game, he is not in the league of Ian Chappell or even Peter Roebuck.

  • v.venkatramakrishnan on January 28, 2009, 17:50 GMT

    Wonderfully written article!!!! Keep going Sanga... I am hoping to see you write about Murali and Sanath....

  • Sudzz on January 28, 2009, 13:55 GMT

    Why ask for feedback and call it your say when you don't publish any form of criticism?

    If it really is supposed to encourage readers to give feedback and get involved then unless obscene and improper posts should not be deleted.

    What I wrote was a personal opinion wherein I stated that I did not like the quality of writing I don't think there was much wrong in what I said.

    Finally I don't really care if my feedback is deemed worthy of being posted or not but it indicates to me that Cricinfo only prefers sycophantic over the top eulogies and not honest feedback..

  • popcorn on January 28, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    Shane Warne was undoubtedly the best leg spinner in the game of cricket. However, to hypothecate that he would have made a wonderful Test captain for Australia is stretching his Hampshire and Rajasthan Royals captaincy experience too far. Test cricket and 50 over cricket are a different contest altogether. Whatever opportunities he got to captain Australia in 50 over cricket were not earthshaking. So shall we revel in the joy of his leg spin and consign the "would have been" to fairy tales?

  • Percy_Fender on January 28, 2009, 5:09 GMT

    In assessing his greatness fairly in the light of Kumar Sangakarra's articulate essay on Warne, it would be good if Cricinfo could provide statistics of the number of lbw decisions he managed to get by his very persuasive appealing, as also the number of wickets he got from No 7 of the opposing batting order. He had limited success in India but did better in his second visit. I feel Shane Warne got much more importance that former leg spinning greats like Gupte,and Qadir because they played in earlier eras when the art of leg spin was not so compelling to view. That could have been because these were from the sub continent at a time when cricket was ruled by the Australians the Englishmen and the South Africans. Also perhaps is because there was no TV coverage or the hype we see these days. The money in the game just enough to survive.

  • sri1010 on January 28, 2009, 2:41 GMT

    Excellent Kumar,

    Every generation has brought forth players, who have done wonders for their country and the game. Bowling in itself is an art and leg spin bowling is a gift that is honed to perfection. You will always keep getting such wonders Like Warne and Murali. Now you have Ajantha Mendis and who knows how many more wornders Sri Lanka have up their sleeve. It is a privilege for those players who have played against Warne, Murali & Kumble.

  • nick_japan_2007 on January 27, 2009, 23:43 GMT

    Well written! I look forward to reading your next piece.

  • jayray999 on January 27, 2009, 22:41 GMT

    How well you write Kumar. It is a joy to read. Lucky man. You will never be short of a profession even in old age. Osman Samiuddin is the only other Cricinfo regular whose prose I enjoy. But yours is the cleaner style and might I add, backed by a better batting average. Warne couldn't pay someone to write a better, more believable tribute. Hats off.

  • Cricketfan001 on January 27, 2009, 20:49 GMT

    Hats off to Sanga !

    We know you have many more things to offer. Just miss bit, about Arjuna's BATTING against Warny …!

    Sanga give good guidance to other cricket autobiography writers to be professional and lesson about sport sprit.

    Thanks Sanga…!

  • LukeTheDuke on January 27, 2009, 18:25 GMT

    some body said in one of the comments that he did't enjoyed watching shane warne bowl... get a life dude. I mean I have a very faint memory of watching Quadir bowling but Warne.. there is no way you can not not enjoy watching warne delivering a snorter of a leg spinner..

  • military-medium on January 27, 2009, 18:04 GMT

    A living legend with the confidence to match, definately. I remember a couple of instances when he was playing for Hampshire where he actually asked the batsman what delivery he would like next ball! A superb article, also.

  • Gino2814 on January 27, 2009, 17:50 GMT

    As a West indies supporter, i have mixed views about any Australian cricketer. especially when they've played against Brian Lara!!!Warne will be remembered as a gr8 player, though he never managed to get the better of Lara and Tendulkar as he would've liked.Having said that, as you rightly said sanga, leg spin bowling is very difficult master. Apart from missing out on the drug scandal and the sledging, the article was good.

  • Bluescript on January 27, 2009, 17:29 GMT

    It is a great writing from Kumar Sangakara about Shane Warne. However, he forgot to mention that he backed by excellent fielding. He was a outstanding bowler: I have no doubt but he could be finished his carrier for sure with less than 400 test wickets in bag had he born in India/Pakistan only because of poor fielding. Alas! We would not see any one like Shane Warne so soon!! I salute you Shane.

  • Aditya_mookerjee on January 27, 2009, 14:41 GMT

    Leg Spin bowling looks very easy to face on television. Perhaps, Off Spin bowling looks easier to face on television. For an Indian, it is a bigger challenge to bowl spinners, than to face spin bowling, perhaps. It is true, that Tendulkar and Lara were very good against Warne. They did not perhaps admire the intricacies of the bowling of Warne, too much, when he was bowling to them. They were enjoying their batting more. I never enjoyed watching Warne bowl. To be fair, nor did I like watching Qadir bowl. The bowler whom I loved to watch bowl leg spin was Sivaramakrishnan.

  • Percy_Fender on January 27, 2009, 13:44 GMT

    Agret tribute to a legend from a great player. Without doubt, Shane Warne was the Bradman in bowling.He had the accuracy,flight,variations, cricketing brilliance, charisma and above all else the luck as well. His rise coincided with the period when leg spin had all but vanished at the international level in cricket. Which made the batsmen that much more unfamiliar with the stuff he turned out. His greatness can be seen in the fact that he was able to sustain his magic over a period of sixteen years. During this period, only the Indians played him with ease as they did on his debut at Sydney in 92. The rest without much exception were simply made monkeys of almost all the time. Having seen him a lot in action, I think his drift both ways and his shoulder strength made him the bowler he was.His weight transfer was almost perfect for every variation. I wish some of the budding leg spinners would see Warne's tapes to pick up a trick or two. Qadir was good too but Warne was the greatest.

  • mahimgupta on January 27, 2009, 12:48 GMT

    forget about all criticism of warnie, he is the best ever after sir don, go shane, u beauty, great to watch u, wrist spin is the most difficult art and u boy are the best ever in it luv u warna u legend i am not coming back ever to read anything on this discussion.i have not read any posts.

  • RandomTalk on January 27, 2009, 11:03 GMT

    Kumar, a great tribute to a great man. In a world of wizards he was the warlock. But what is appealing from your column is how you harmonize praise, respect, constructive criticism, humour and humility, with little effort, just as you bat. The word 'fluid' springs to mind. I'm an ardent admirer. Please keep them coming.

  • robheinen on January 27, 2009, 10:43 GMT

    What an awesome piece of prose to honour one the game's greatest, Kumar. You handle the pen with the same finesse as you handle your bat. And like Shane handled the ball for that matter.

  • cricsom5667 on January 27, 2009, 10:32 GMT

    Sanga,

    A great article on a legend! My admiration for Sanga the batsman is now extending to Sanga the columnist/cricket enthusiast. I am sure that you will have great career in journalism (sports atleast) should you decide to pursue the same after your playing days are over. However, purely from cricketing reasons i.e as a purist, I cannot count Murali in the same league as stated by you, albeit his records, because of his controversial bowling action. On a separate note, great spinners like Bedi, Chandra, Prasanna, Qadir, Underwood and Saqlain did not get to play enough tests so as to possess further impressive records (no. of wickets). In terms of longevity or strike rate / bowling averages, they are not far off.

  • palfeb3_1987 on January 27, 2009, 10:23 GMT

    I am Palaniappan from Chennai. Sanga, u are absolutely fabulous not only with your stylish batting but also your stylish writing. Did u always have a flair for writing?.Shane Warne, first of the three spinners to establish at international cricket, is a legend of spin bowling not just for his performances but also for the fact that he opened up spin bowling to play an important part in the bowling department. He proved that spinners can take wickets to contribute to victories in test matches and ODIs. How often have we seen opponents make a flying start only to surrender it to Warne. Great Sanga. But apart from his demeanor and the controversies i would have liked him to do well in India which he hasn't managed though he did well in Lanka. Only one five wicket haul Against India in India out of the many classy five wicket hauls he had in his kitty. Looking forward to his contributions in IPL this year. I just can't wait for both the sequel and this man in the sequel.

  • srinivasasubramanian on January 27, 2009, 9:52 GMT

    A classic article about a gem of a cricketer by another . Hats off to both Warnie and Sanga . True that those who watched Shane , Anil and Murali are very lucky indeed.

  • bivu on January 27, 2009, 9:48 GMT

    All the statistics aside and all his variety aside,the single most greatest greatest attribute of his bowling,I think,was his ability to turn the ball so so much and not the least the speed with which the ball would explode off the pitch.it bordered almost on the surreal side.it was more enigmatic than the extent of turn itself.and then also another surreality he could bring on when he was at his best.the pronounced drift through air which seemed like the inswing of pace bowlers.obviously there were two other great turners of the ball.one is murali and the other is the much much underrated Stuart Macgill.but when he is at his best,he was the outright winner in the department of turn.you can check all the available old videos

  • abu_zayr on January 27, 2009, 9:35 GMT

    Nice article Sangakara! Surely we would have made a very attacking Australian captain had he not gotten into the drug scandal. I still enjoy Shane be in on the field or in the commentators' box. He's surely different!

  • riteshjsr on January 27, 2009, 9:33 GMT

    Warne is one of my all-time favorite cricketers. A magician! He is the kind of cricketer you would want to pay and watch. Always in the thick of action, making things happen, changing the course of matches. A rare genius! What a leader he could have been for Australia! Shrewd cricketing brain along with excellent people management skills. Look at Yusuf Pathan; one season under Warne's leadership at the IPL and he's never looked back. I'm sure Yusuf always had the potential, he just needed someone to unlock it. Warne did it! I can think of only one other cricketer who's as charismatic as Warne and that is Dhoni. Streetsmart captain who can bring out the best from his players. Look how successful Dhoni has been as captain. If only Warne could have taken care of his off field antics, he would have been one of Australia's most successful captains. However, I guess, it would have made him less colorful :-) He had a larger than life image and he revelled in it, lived off it.

  • Subra on January 27, 2009, 9:11 GMT

    Another great essay by Sangakkara. The beauty is that he writes with great feeling - the kind of writing one associates with Arlott, Swanton, Cardus, Fingleton, Crusoe and the other greats

    He doesn't have to worry about what to do after he retires from cricket. He has his law degree, but I hope he writes on the game to which he has contributed a lot and I hope he will does very well against India.

    Siva (born in Ceylon but now) living in Singapore

  • RezaThahir on January 27, 2009, 8:37 GMT

    Superb article, its true that warnie is one of the greatest but definitely not the best, To become the best you have to perform against the best. He struggled completely against the best players of spin bowling, i mean against Lara, Tendulkar & India. Against the indians he his average is 49 & couldn't dominate the likes of Lara & Tendulkar. How many times we have seen the indians massacre warne. It was a sorry sight.

    Its true that he mastered the art of leg spin,but one cant argue that he's the best spinner ever.

  • Zahran_F on January 27, 2009, 7:36 GMT

    Simply brilliant Kumar !! Love reading your articles. You are proving that you are just as good with the pen as you are with the bat. Hard to imagine the guy writing this article is the kid I use to play soft ball cricket while staying at his place two decades ago. But then everyone around you knew that you were a star in the making. Keep up the good work - both with the bat and the pen.

  • Shafaet on January 27, 2009, 7:29 GMT

    WARNIE is the most perfect synonym of legend. Influence of WARNE both inside & outside of the game is simply amazing. He is (not was) the greatest master of mind game & one of the most decorated superstar sports history have ever witnessed. Without warne & few other stars, aus is struggling now, but had warnie been their instead of ponting, he could pull the team out of deepest holes. He is not only a superstar "he is an icon who should "not" be followed by the kids of good morals". To me he's bigger legend than Bradman, Sachin.

  • AdityaRavindran on January 27, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    Of course, doubtless, Shane was one of the greatest leg spinners who really did magic with the ball. He used to have a definite plan to dismiss someone -- whether it took one ball or 10 overs, he did have a definite plan. An example of it is Warne bowling Strauss round the legs during the 2nd test of the recent Ashes. This is something youngsters should work upon - plan each wicket and implement it. Kudos to Warnie to have mesmerised us with his spin.

  • sameeullah on January 27, 2009, 7:10 GMT

    I think shane was extraordinary bowler and cricketer and sometimes i realise good leaders always have some type of arrogant or you may say proud nature. I have never seen a good captain who didn't look different then rest of team. like we always heard in Pakistan Imran was arrogant and Wasim was same in nature.So i would say a leader has some different qualities then other and most of the time others don't like it.

    I think Shane has a brilliant mind and he was purely unlucky because in his age there was the great S.Waugh who was captaining aussies well. before Steve Mark Taylor was there too . And it unfortunate that we can not have two captains in one team.

    Shane we loved you always even though you always troubled most of pakistani bastmen :) wish you best luck for whole life.

  • ahsif on January 27, 2009, 7:03 GMT

    Well Done Sanga as eloquant as always. You have done justice to a great legend we possibly wont see the likes of again, at least in our life time!

    Considering that Warney achieved almost everything he set his mind to, he possibly did not want to captain Australia badly enough, If he wanted to I am sure he would have made it.

    I am glad he is still contributing to the game

    May god preserve him

    AA

  • akaran on January 27, 2009, 6:10 GMT

    This is a brilliant article on the greatest and the most mercurial cricketer of all time. I am a great fan of Shane Warne and what Sangakkara has written about him is apt and just about perfect.

  • CrikMerchants on January 27, 2009, 6:10 GMT

    Its a pleasure to read articles by someone who plays the game so well and writes in the same manner too :). Sanga, its easy to imagine that you can become such an eloquent cricket writer. Your insight on how Warne would lure the batsman for a LBW was really worth reading. Keep the gems flowing both for the words and your runs.

  • Sampath_KCS on January 27, 2009, 5:44 GMT

    This reminds me of "Mudithawa " preached by Loard Buddha..If you can be happy when you see the happiness of the other then you are a perfect human. Every time I read a column from Sanga I observe that spirit which is blend with his blood. As Sanga has said you can love him or hate him, but the immense he's done for the cricket will be remembered for ever. I also witnessed that 1992 test at SSC where little Kalu hammered a century in the first innings on his debut, the win was in the hand of Sri Lanka but we coudn't grab it properly & put it to the mouth because of Shane Warne greats & do not forget Greg Mathews. Gurusignhe's lonely battle could not save the game for us. It's true it is one of the two painful defeats I have as a cricket fan witnessed along with the 2003 World Cup semi against Aussies. Sampath Perera.KC.-Colombo.

  • Ranga_Sydney on January 27, 2009, 5:27 GMT

    Warney is the greatest spinner of all time. Some might disagree, but the way he sets up each batsmen is absolute divine. Plus he was great in slips. When he doesn't get wickets (which is rare) he controls the run flow from one end. No doubt that Australia is missing his services. One thing I request him not to do is join the band wagon - being a commentator of Channel 9 team. Indeed Sanga would like to keep for Warney and Murali. That's a tough challenge, but surely you would have wanted that to happen. Lord Shane Hail!!

  • Elliott140589 on January 27, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    Kumar very good well written article. You and Shane Warne over the past few years as well as people like Michael Clarke,Andrew Symonds Gilly, Pietersoen, Flintoff have been a joy to watch.

    Now im a legspinner in my club team and it is hard to do master legspin and your article is dead right only Shane Warne could master it like no one can with the expection of Murali..

  • ahalim on January 27, 2009, 4:00 GMT

    If only his batting ability was same as Sir Garry Sobers, then I'd put him as the allrounder in my best XI and put Kumble and Murali as the other spinners. The team would be:

    1. Virender Sehwag 2. Matthew Hayden 3. Sir Don Bradman (c) 4. Sachin Tendulkar 5. Shane Warne (vc) 6. Adam Gilchrist (wk) 7. Wasim Akram 8. Anil Kumble 9. Dennis Lillee 10.Muttiah Muralitharan 11.Glenn McGrath

    No doubt that this team will be difficult to be beaten. There are two most explosive openers in the history of the game, two batting masters, the greatest spinner allrounder, the greatest keeper-batsman, the most potent pace attack which has everything from pace, bounce, accuracy and swing, the most potent spin attack which can turn ball anywhere, can flight it anywhere, and possess lethal bounce.

  • arvinj1 on January 27, 2009, 3:59 GMT

    A perfect tribute from my most favourite stumper to everyone's greatest spinner, nay bowler.... Warne remains the one to be emulated in all aspects of cricketing, good bad and ugly. He was the total cricket package.

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  • arvinj1 on January 27, 2009, 3:59 GMT

    A perfect tribute from my most favourite stumper to everyone's greatest spinner, nay bowler.... Warne remains the one to be emulated in all aspects of cricketing, good bad and ugly. He was the total cricket package.

  • ahalim on January 27, 2009, 4:00 GMT

    If only his batting ability was same as Sir Garry Sobers, then I'd put him as the allrounder in my best XI and put Kumble and Murali as the other spinners. The team would be:

    1. Virender Sehwag 2. Matthew Hayden 3. Sir Don Bradman (c) 4. Sachin Tendulkar 5. Shane Warne (vc) 6. Adam Gilchrist (wk) 7. Wasim Akram 8. Anil Kumble 9. Dennis Lillee 10.Muttiah Muralitharan 11.Glenn McGrath

    No doubt that this team will be difficult to be beaten. There are two most explosive openers in the history of the game, two batting masters, the greatest spinner allrounder, the greatest keeper-batsman, the most potent pace attack which has everything from pace, bounce, accuracy and swing, the most potent spin attack which can turn ball anywhere, can flight it anywhere, and possess lethal bounce.

  • Elliott140589 on January 27, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    Kumar very good well written article. You and Shane Warne over the past few years as well as people like Michael Clarke,Andrew Symonds Gilly, Pietersoen, Flintoff have been a joy to watch.

    Now im a legspinner in my club team and it is hard to do master legspin and your article is dead right only Shane Warne could master it like no one can with the expection of Murali..

  • Ranga_Sydney on January 27, 2009, 5:27 GMT

    Warney is the greatest spinner of all time. Some might disagree, but the way he sets up each batsmen is absolute divine. Plus he was great in slips. When he doesn't get wickets (which is rare) he controls the run flow from one end. No doubt that Australia is missing his services. One thing I request him not to do is join the band wagon - being a commentator of Channel 9 team. Indeed Sanga would like to keep for Warney and Murali. That's a tough challenge, but surely you would have wanted that to happen. Lord Shane Hail!!

  • Sampath_KCS on January 27, 2009, 5:44 GMT

    This reminds me of "Mudithawa " preached by Loard Buddha..If you can be happy when you see the happiness of the other then you are a perfect human. Every time I read a column from Sanga I observe that spirit which is blend with his blood. As Sanga has said you can love him or hate him, but the immense he's done for the cricket will be remembered for ever. I also witnessed that 1992 test at SSC where little Kalu hammered a century in the first innings on his debut, the win was in the hand of Sri Lanka but we coudn't grab it properly & put it to the mouth because of Shane Warne greats & do not forget Greg Mathews. Gurusignhe's lonely battle could not save the game for us. It's true it is one of the two painful defeats I have as a cricket fan witnessed along with the 2003 World Cup semi against Aussies. Sampath Perera.KC.-Colombo.

  • CrikMerchants on January 27, 2009, 6:10 GMT

    Its a pleasure to read articles by someone who plays the game so well and writes in the same manner too :). Sanga, its easy to imagine that you can become such an eloquent cricket writer. Your insight on how Warne would lure the batsman for a LBW was really worth reading. Keep the gems flowing both for the words and your runs.

  • akaran on January 27, 2009, 6:10 GMT

    This is a brilliant article on the greatest and the most mercurial cricketer of all time. I am a great fan of Shane Warne and what Sangakkara has written about him is apt and just about perfect.

  • ahsif on January 27, 2009, 7:03 GMT

    Well Done Sanga as eloquant as always. You have done justice to a great legend we possibly wont see the likes of again, at least in our life time!

    Considering that Warney achieved almost everything he set his mind to, he possibly did not want to captain Australia badly enough, If he wanted to I am sure he would have made it.

    I am glad he is still contributing to the game

    May god preserve him

    AA

  • sameeullah on January 27, 2009, 7:10 GMT

    I think shane was extraordinary bowler and cricketer and sometimes i realise good leaders always have some type of arrogant or you may say proud nature. I have never seen a good captain who didn't look different then rest of team. like we always heard in Pakistan Imran was arrogant and Wasim was same in nature.So i would say a leader has some different qualities then other and most of the time others don't like it.

    I think Shane has a brilliant mind and he was purely unlucky because in his age there was the great S.Waugh who was captaining aussies well. before Steve Mark Taylor was there too . And it unfortunate that we can not have two captains in one team.

    Shane we loved you always even though you always troubled most of pakistani bastmen :) wish you best luck for whole life.

  • AdityaRavindran on January 27, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    Of course, doubtless, Shane was one of the greatest leg spinners who really did magic with the ball. He used to have a definite plan to dismiss someone -- whether it took one ball or 10 overs, he did have a definite plan. An example of it is Warne bowling Strauss round the legs during the 2nd test of the recent Ashes. This is something youngsters should work upon - plan each wicket and implement it. Kudos to Warnie to have mesmerised us with his spin.