April 15, 2011

Bright stays the Warne

Last year it looked like he was fading, but you wouldn't think it if you watched his first delivery against Delhi this week
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Seven overs into the Rajasthan Royals' match against the Delhi Daredevils, Shane Warne took the ball. I had seen him a couple of days earlier; he looked different. Maybe a cosmetic surgeon had been involved, maybe it was just a flush of youth returning briefly. He looked trimmer, he looked excited, and he had bowled beautifully, making younger players look like novices occasionally.

Now I was waiting for him to bowl the first ball - like, as a child, I had waited in the stands to watch Sunil Gavaskar come out to bat. First balls can be tricky things if you are playing after a while, because the cricket ball, a weapon that has bowed to your bidding all your life, suddenly becomes a rebel, questions your right to make it land where you want it to. Not this time.

The first ball, from over the wicket, drifted towards leg stump and turned viciously. Like it had many thousands of times in Warne's prime.

Young Unmukt Chand, a fine prospect I was told, but who thought blocking a ball was criminal, played the cut, was cramped for space, and Rahul Dravid pulled off a fine catch at slip. Like Mark Taylor used to in the days when c Taylor b Warne was a feature on most Australian scorecards. It didn't end there. Ball after ball followed the familiar wicket trajectory. Batsmen played, missed, edged, wondered what this thing was that came at them but wasn't where they thought it would be. Soon Naman Ojha, another young gun, was caught at point. The first three balls read WoW. That's what it was. He's the best Australian spinner playing cricket, by a margin as large as the distance between Jaipur to Melbourne.

Often we hope champions never return after they retire. There is an aura that grows every day after they are gone. Sins are washed away, bad balls were never bowled. A comeback can ravage those memories, make a giant look frail. An image can be shattered. It is the saddest thing in sport when a champion tries to summon skills that left him a long time ago. And I must confess to having those thoughts when I heard Warne would play on in IPL 2011.

He had looked rusty in IPL 2009 in South Africa, but only briefly. The action was soon back - for that is what it really is; if you get the action right, the ball goes where it should. But in IPL 2010, it was clear he was demanding too much from himself. A young batsman would slog him and the reply wouldn't have the same venom. I feared the king of the pack might be hunted down this year. You cannot, you should not, see the leader made a meal of.

Maybe somewhere Warne knew this. And in between rounds of poker - good for a sharp mind, maybe, but not much good if you want to be in the right shape - and long flights to satisfy the cravings of the heart, he trained. That is obvious. You can hide many weaknesses but a protruding belly is particularly difficult to conceal. Warne in IPL 2011 looks trim, and maybe that has allowed the action to be the way he wants it to be. And clearly he has bowled a lot. Not even Warne can make that first ball land on the spot and fizz it without having bowled many in the nets before.

And so back to Jaipur and game two for the Royals. He came on to bowl in one of the slog overs to young David Warner and threw the ball wide of off stump, challenging the batsman to hit against the turn. The over only produced five runs. After that he captained the side from deep midwicket. Slow, ageing players don't field there but Warne backed himself to.

It has only been two matches so far and I don't know what the IPL holds for Shane Warne in the rest of the games. But I do know that, as a cricket lover, he has me on the edge of my seat every time he bowls. He is 42 now. Not every game will be as good, but he's giving it a decent shot and making the experience of watching cricket as thrilling as it was when he was doing batsmen in for Australia.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY FAT_MAN on | April 18, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    Hey Harsha, I think your objectivity is being blinded by nostalgia I dont even think the opposition is respecting him as a bowler...he may have a decent over here or there but the man is finished...he should be coach only

    As a player he is now a liability to him team

  • POSTED BY ApurvaB on | April 18, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    c Taylor b Warne Haha. This phrase is so nostalgic.

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | April 17, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    Shane Warne is the closest equivalent to Don Bradman in bowling. The second pair is Viv Richards and Dennis Lillee.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | April 17, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    I have seen Subhas Gupte bowl. He was a great leg spinner. But then like someone said, his bowling was not written of in superlative terms terms likethe 'wizard of oz' bowling the 'ball of the century' to an Englishman as they often did about Shane Warne There is no doubt that Warne was a great bowler. But he was probably written of in the manner we have seen because he came from Australia.Gupte was called the best leg spinner that ever played the game by none other than Sir Gary Sobers, as much a great player as a reader of the game and the players in his time.Sobers had also seen Warne when he held that Gupte was superior. Abdul Qadir was another great bowler just as Saqlain Mushtaq was.No one talks about them or Mankad or Prasanna in the same breath as they talk about Shane Warne.That may have been because Warne came at a time when leg spiners were a rare breed.And then his persona of being a ladies man added to his mystique. Gupte was no less colourful but times were different then

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | April 17, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    @Ankit Jain, all you have done is come up with three names who you think may not vote for Warne. You actually have absolutely no idea whether Warne would be in their selection. I can give you 12 names of people who actually did, a much more solid piece of evidence. At various times, the people you mention may have said Warne is not the best spinner they have seen, played against or played with. This is very different from meriting a selection in an All Time XI and it is hard to see them arguing against this selection. And the context is completely different. For example, Sobers wrote his piece in a book for which the publicity would have been great, and if we were to accept this, then Subhash Gupte is the greatest spinner to play the game. But is Sobers really going to pick Gupte in an All Time XI alongside Bradman, himself, Tendulkar etc. Seems a bit out of place, so I think not.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | April 17, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    1.Harump! Hype perpetuates hype. How come these balls were never EVER produced against accomplished Indian batsmen in 4 full series and 3 other Tests.He did the same thing last year against Chargers' lower order players but even an out-of-form and ordinary player against spin Yuvraj thrashed him. Warne has publicly been called over-rated by Arjuna Ranatunga, Salim Malik, Aravinda de Silva- all masterful players of spin. The combative and canny Ranatunga deliberately attacked Warne in that high-stakes 1996 World Cup final (knowing full well about a vast television viewing audience) to walk the talk. Malik was only done in by supreme sledger and gamesmanship wizard Warne in the return series in OZ in 1995-96.Let's not even talk about the Indian batting greats who have collared and mastered him thru the 90s and the noughties (Indian batsmen are too submissive or gentlemanly to make bombastic comments in public about Warne being over-rated).

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | April 17, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    3.SA and even WI were not giving SL long Test series despite SL being very competitive in Tests after 1995 and becoming World Champions in 1996. It was only Pakistan and India which kept playing SL in many 3 Test series. Because of the step-motherly treatment of Eng and OZ boards, the luminescent talent of de Silva was also not seen by many or acknowledged. By the way, the craftiest and most skilful spinner in modern cricket history has been Saqlain Musthaq and not Murali or Warne. Only Saqlain did not have the temperament or the backing of the maverick PCB to carve out a long career. His ODI exploits and returns are among the all-time best.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | April 17, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    2.Yeah right "cut swathes thru which countries'" batmen we know. Running webs around leaden-footed English and South African batsmen [or badly disciplined 2000s era Sri Lankan (circa 2004 series in SL) and Pakistani batsmen] don't make for an all-time great spinner. By the way, Graham Gooch has rated Abdul Qadir as the greater and more allround leg-spinner and Sobers has called Subhash Gupte as the best leg-spinner of all time. Warne's overwhelming persona (admittedly he did bring spin bowling to the fore again), Ashes successes (there you go again for the Friths and Wisdens for whom only Ashes battles matter! ) have blinded many cricket analysts and fans. Warne feasted on pathetic English sides of the 90s while Murali got to play England in England only 6 times in his entire career-blame ICC's FTP and all that ! And still picked up 48 wickets.For those talking about the Tests that Murali played against Zim and Bang, obviously Lanka Board had to arrange Tests for SL as Eng, OZ,

  • POSTED BY DaisonGarvasis on | April 17, 2011, 6:14 GMT

    True, you all can do the IPL bashing as much as you want. But if it allows you to watch Warne bowl again, you should shut your mouth and watch where he land that ball everytime he come on to bowl. If that doesnt please you enuf, perhaps you shouldnt be commenting anyway.

  • POSTED BY AncientAstronaut on | April 17, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    There'll possibly never be another Warne. If there's one reason to like the IPL - and there aren't many - it's the fact that it allows us to see legends like Warne in action again. He's one of the greatest cricket players of all time. Period. Now why didn't any franchise pick Lara?

  • POSTED BY FAT_MAN on | April 18, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    Hey Harsha, I think your objectivity is being blinded by nostalgia I dont even think the opposition is respecting him as a bowler...he may have a decent over here or there but the man is finished...he should be coach only

    As a player he is now a liability to him team

  • POSTED BY ApurvaB on | April 18, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    c Taylor b Warne Haha. This phrase is so nostalgic.

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | April 17, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    Shane Warne is the closest equivalent to Don Bradman in bowling. The second pair is Viv Richards and Dennis Lillee.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | April 17, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    I have seen Subhas Gupte bowl. He was a great leg spinner. But then like someone said, his bowling was not written of in superlative terms terms likethe 'wizard of oz' bowling the 'ball of the century' to an Englishman as they often did about Shane Warne There is no doubt that Warne was a great bowler. But he was probably written of in the manner we have seen because he came from Australia.Gupte was called the best leg spinner that ever played the game by none other than Sir Gary Sobers, as much a great player as a reader of the game and the players in his time.Sobers had also seen Warne when he held that Gupte was superior. Abdul Qadir was another great bowler just as Saqlain Mushtaq was.No one talks about them or Mankad or Prasanna in the same breath as they talk about Shane Warne.That may have been because Warne came at a time when leg spiners were a rare breed.And then his persona of being a ladies man added to his mystique. Gupte was no less colourful but times were different then

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | April 17, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    @Ankit Jain, all you have done is come up with three names who you think may not vote for Warne. You actually have absolutely no idea whether Warne would be in their selection. I can give you 12 names of people who actually did, a much more solid piece of evidence. At various times, the people you mention may have said Warne is not the best spinner they have seen, played against or played with. This is very different from meriting a selection in an All Time XI and it is hard to see them arguing against this selection. And the context is completely different. For example, Sobers wrote his piece in a book for which the publicity would have been great, and if we were to accept this, then Subhash Gupte is the greatest spinner to play the game. But is Sobers really going to pick Gupte in an All Time XI alongside Bradman, himself, Tendulkar etc. Seems a bit out of place, so I think not.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | April 17, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    1.Harump! Hype perpetuates hype. How come these balls were never EVER produced against accomplished Indian batsmen in 4 full series and 3 other Tests.He did the same thing last year against Chargers' lower order players but even an out-of-form and ordinary player against spin Yuvraj thrashed him. Warne has publicly been called over-rated by Arjuna Ranatunga, Salim Malik, Aravinda de Silva- all masterful players of spin. The combative and canny Ranatunga deliberately attacked Warne in that high-stakes 1996 World Cup final (knowing full well about a vast television viewing audience) to walk the talk. Malik was only done in by supreme sledger and gamesmanship wizard Warne in the return series in OZ in 1995-96.Let's not even talk about the Indian batting greats who have collared and mastered him thru the 90s and the noughties (Indian batsmen are too submissive or gentlemanly to make bombastic comments in public about Warne being over-rated).

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | April 17, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    3.SA and even WI were not giving SL long Test series despite SL being very competitive in Tests after 1995 and becoming World Champions in 1996. It was only Pakistan and India which kept playing SL in many 3 Test series. Because of the step-motherly treatment of Eng and OZ boards, the luminescent talent of de Silva was also not seen by many or acknowledged. By the way, the craftiest and most skilful spinner in modern cricket history has been Saqlain Musthaq and not Murali or Warne. Only Saqlain did not have the temperament or the backing of the maverick PCB to carve out a long career. His ODI exploits and returns are among the all-time best.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | April 17, 2011, 6:16 GMT

    2.Yeah right "cut swathes thru which countries'" batmen we know. Running webs around leaden-footed English and South African batsmen [or badly disciplined 2000s era Sri Lankan (circa 2004 series in SL) and Pakistani batsmen] don't make for an all-time great spinner. By the way, Graham Gooch has rated Abdul Qadir as the greater and more allround leg-spinner and Sobers has called Subhash Gupte as the best leg-spinner of all time. Warne's overwhelming persona (admittedly he did bring spin bowling to the fore again), Ashes successes (there you go again for the Friths and Wisdens for whom only Ashes battles matter! ) have blinded many cricket analysts and fans. Warne feasted on pathetic English sides of the 90s while Murali got to play England in England only 6 times in his entire career-blame ICC's FTP and all that ! And still picked up 48 wickets.For those talking about the Tests that Murali played against Zim and Bang, obviously Lanka Board had to arrange Tests for SL as Eng, OZ,

  • POSTED BY DaisonGarvasis on | April 17, 2011, 6:14 GMT

    True, you all can do the IPL bashing as much as you want. But if it allows you to watch Warne bowl again, you should shut your mouth and watch where he land that ball everytime he come on to bowl. If that doesnt please you enuf, perhaps you shouldnt be commenting anyway.

  • POSTED BY AncientAstronaut on | April 17, 2011, 2:07 GMT

    There'll possibly never be another Warne. If there's one reason to like the IPL - and there aren't many - it's the fact that it allows us to see legends like Warne in action again. He's one of the greatest cricket players of all time. Period. Now why didn't any franchise pick Lara?

  • POSTED BY Rivaldoooo on | April 16, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    Warne needs to be the new coach for India. Great article Harsha. 42 years and looking in great shape. The way Warne and Gilchrist enjoy the IPL, they are more than half Indian. Compare that with Ricky Ponting's attitude...

  • POSTED BY xylo on | April 16, 2011, 14:30 GMT

    The perception that I had got from relatives of the previous generation who followed ODIs was that they would rather watch paint dry rather than Gavaskar and Shastri bat.

  • POSTED BY natzhe on | April 16, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Muttaih may have taken more wickets, but more people go to stadiums to watch Shane bowl & more people watch him on tele than any other Spin bowler, and in India, we love him. And BTW he has got sachin out a few times too.

  • POSTED BY on | April 16, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    BillyCC - Unopposed selection in cricinfo XI means jack. Put Sobers, Tendulkar or Bradman in the panel and he wouldn't have been the unopposed choice.

  • POSTED BY on | April 16, 2011, 3:34 GMT

    Nice article Harsha....great to see Shane Warne play the IPL

  • POSTED BY Drew2 on | April 16, 2011, 3:06 GMT

    Correct Redbrand. Also, take out Bangladesh and Zimbabwe as opponents and home town Sri Lankan pitches (Warne didn't have this luxury in Aust) - then do the stats. there's quite a gulf and it's not Murali sitting on top.

  • POSTED BY redbrand on | April 16, 2011, 0:45 GMT

    that's correct Stark62, hands down and ARM BENT!

  • POSTED BY Tokyn on | April 16, 2011, 0:08 GMT

    "Long flights to satisfy the cravings of the heart!" Haha! Classic!

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 23:11 GMT

    Best spin bowler ever, no controversy ON field and the best bowler to ever grace the game! TRUE HERO/LEGEND

  • POSTED BY aroberts on | April 15, 2011, 21:59 GMT

    Warne! true legend, good to see him in action but not in IPL. All the legends after having played at their best in the truest form of cricket wonder why they prefer IPL(Warne, Murali, Sachin, VVS, Dravid), good thing Kumble, Jayasuriya, Vaas, Ricky Ponting moved on.

  • POSTED BY BillyCC on | April 15, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    Warne was elected unopposed as the greatest spinner ever to play the game with his selection in the Cricinfo World XI. The article above demonstrates why. To not play competitively for long periods and still produce time and time again is a tribute to the man.

  • POSTED BY EVEREADY on | April 15, 2011, 19:32 GMT

    Magician On & Off the field.A dream of every Team----Shane Warne

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 19:23 GMT

    TRULY THE GREAT LEGEND, WHO DIFIES THE DEFEAT, WHO COME BACK WITH A VENOM. A LEGEND, A TRUE LEGEND WHO WAS NOT PROPERLY TREATED BY THE AUSTRIALIAN CRICKET BOARD, NOW PAYING THE PRICE. IT WAS DELIGHT TO WATCH AND FEEL WARNE, ONCE PIYUSH CHAWLA A SIMILAR PROSPECT WHO IS STILL STRUGGLING. TRULY WHEN WARNE IS BOLWING, ITS TRIBUTE TO WATCH I SALUTE HIM .... THE GREATEST OF THE GREATEST..

  • POSTED BY manish053 on | April 15, 2011, 18:10 GMT

    It is a bonus to team for which warne bowls as you can expect to a person of 42 to play cricket in ground 40 overs which is marked as very young players game. He is not a rusty because he is giving brain to his team where he is trimmer to novices. He has still crave to perform and is blazing.we can not say that his deleting his memories as we cannot compare this warne to young warne who played vital role to win ashes to his national team. Still ardent fans love to watch his enticing bowling and RR is getting compound interest from this player as he is player cum coach of their team. He knows he has a reins of his team and what's his value, he never disappoint his team owners.His decent behavior make him a lovable person of not onlu RR but also whole Rajasthan.

  • POSTED BY Charindra on | April 15, 2011, 18:10 GMT

    He's a fantastic bowler, but against Sachin and the other indians he has failed time and again. Murali has done well against India. And anyway overall Murali is the greatest bowler the game has ever seen. That is beyond doubt. But warne is definitely fantastic.

  • POSTED BY ultrasnow on | April 15, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    I'm Indian and wonder if Warnie had made one last come-back for the just concluded World Cup what would have transpired... Warne bowling on spin friendly surfaces...maybe Aussies would not have run into India at the QF stages and from there on who knows.....

  • POSTED BY Stark62 on | April 15, 2011, 16:37 GMT

    The best leggie ever but the best spinner title has to go to the master himself Murli, hands down!

  • POSTED BY bheekuchatri on | April 15, 2011, 16:17 GMT

    "by a margin as large as the distance between Jaipur to Melbourne" !! - lol

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | April 15, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    Anil Kumble wa written off when he started playing at the international level because they said he was a spin bowler who could not spin the ball. I do not wish to name him but even a revered former captain said this about Anil. The thing is that Anil made the changes as he felt his career around him and became the world beating legend during his life time. The point is that big turn only looks good on the TV screen. What is crucial is for the batsman to be beaten which can happen even if a slight turn that is enough to beat the bat. In fact the more subtle the turn the greater the chance for the fancy dismissals associated with leg spinners like stumpings, close cordon catches and lbws.Piyush Chawla is a good bowler and let not anyone think otherwise just because the Englishmen attacked him in a ODI in which nearly 700 runs were scored. Incidentally I think he gave away lesser runs in that game that Swann, an off spinner.The point is that he has a good googly and decent enough leg spin

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    @Kanak: its safe to say that he has been as important to the game of cricket as THE GOD (I presume Sachin Tendulkar)... while Sachin has been the calming balm for a generation of Indians who seem to be facing new challenges everyday... Shane has been a revelation in portraying the aggressive Spinner / Australian character... both hav taken their specialisations to an entirely new level and made the next generation want to follow suit.. nothing can help the game better..

  • POSTED BY immit13 on | April 15, 2011, 11:22 GMT

    Doesn't matter! he is surely one of the greats to have played the game but for me he is already a retired player...no point in writing about his skills now and that too over is IPL performance.. what a joke. Honestly being myself a cricket fan for over 20 years (in my lifespan of 29 years) I surely have seen better cricket than what we see in IPL format, not sure what to cheer for? who to cheer for and even why to cheer for... Its a shame that cricinfo is covering it as if it is a T20 world cup. watched a few overs here and there just to see how it is and with all the junk of advertising and fake publicity it really feels like watching some boring sport in which there is no real value for a WIN or a LOSS! for me this is TIMEPASS and JUNKY cricket at its very best! The only good thing of IPL it gives exposure to young talent, not sure though how much that will help the real cricket (TEST, ODI & T20), by which I mean with national sides of course, no fake clubs please!

  • POSTED BY nkjakajack on | April 15, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    Wat a bowler he was and he still is...amazing..best spinner to watch by a long way... Btw landing the first ball of the match at perfect spot is a habit of his..check out any match ever, i am sure the first ball would be at the perfect spot..

  • POSTED BY ARIF3011 on | April 15, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    The achievement at international level he has made is far more greater than his contemporary spinners (including Murali) because he had to bowl alongwith the great Australian fast bowlers who were spearheading the attack. Warne claimed 700+ despite being in the pack where McGrath had also taken 500+ and other fast bowlers were sharing wickets too. Pitches in Australia and England were not that helpful for spin bowling. That is what's great about Shane. In fact on subcontinent pitches his record is awful. Imagine if was as successful there as well, what would have been his record!!! Murali is one of my favorite but he has been bowling without having any other great around him in Lankan attack.So, Shane is greater. Go Shane go!!!

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    HE IS THE BESTEST SPINNER EVER AND I THINK HE IS BETTER THEN MUTTIAH

  • POSTED BY stationmaster on | April 15, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    Best captain Aus never had. He would be a MUCh better addition to the AUS team than say Steve Smith - in fact that could be the Worlds biggest understatement.

  • POSTED BY blackie on | April 15, 2011, 9:32 GMT

    I'm west indian. Warne was the best leggie EVER!!!

  • POSTED BY Knightriders_suck on | April 15, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    I loved the look on Dravid's face. It said long time since I fielded to a decent leg spinner. I wish Kumble was playing as well. Aah the golden art of leg spin. Not a single decent one left now.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    @scjamloki : Well said...Warne is n times better than Ricky.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    @Kabuliwala - Piyush Chawla has all the attributes of a leg spinner?! Sorry, I disagree!! His leg spinner does not turn!! He relies on googlies and flippers. Whilst I am not a bowling coach, I can notice that his bowling arm comes from too much of a height which does not allow him to impart as many revolutions as a wrist spinner who has a round-armish action. Piyush has a long way to go, and I am sure he will look into his technical shortcomings. But I wonder if he has the temperament to survive. In the WC when England batsmen went after him, he completely wilted under pressure and his body language was of a beaten man!!

  • POSTED BY Tijara on | April 15, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    It is nice to have Warne for Rajasthan Royals! Welcome. It is easier to play at his age in 20/20 as there are only 20 overs to field and only 4 overs to bowl. Test cricket is different.

  • POSTED BY fireboyz on | April 15, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    shane warne is one of the greatest spinner and leader in the cricket field, his presence makes young and out of form players to perform on a bigger stage. its fascinating to watch him bowl and lead the side. i can watch him in years to come...i'm a big fan of RR, only b'coz the charisma of warne is there.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    "He's the best Australian spinner playing cricket, by a margin as large as the distance between Jaipur to Melbourne"... sums up the great man! My all time favorite cricketer... a player (I dare say) as good as and as important as 'God'.

  • POSTED BY scjamloki on | April 15, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    I would also add that " Shane is one of the best captain Australia never had"

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 7:45 GMT

    It's nice to see him.........king of spin is back..... ...........I think it's great experience for all youngsters to play ..with him or against him..

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    An Entertainer thats what shane warne is. And Easily the best cricketer to have played the game. Has any other player won more games than the great man. I doubt.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    Skill never leaves you Harsha, I believe. It is a case of how physically capable your body is at that age e.g. compare Roger Federer's work rate to some younger and far more body building athletes like Nadal as well your prime examples of Warnes fitness in the article above.

    It is also a case of the mind. A young gun is very much the fearless type. They do not have any sense of experience hence they have nothing to fall back but also nothing to possibly cloud their judgement and no reason to curb their instincts. The problem with having the experience that Warne has or any hugely experienced campaigner is sometimes you can curb or tailor your instincts/reactions to your experiences whilst forgetting they are what got you such experience in the first place and also that every situation is always going to be different in some form of another to one you can personally refer to.

  • POSTED BY ambica.prasad on | April 15, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    "He's the best Australian spinner playing cricket, by a margin as large as the distance between Jaipur to Melbourne." --- Nice one harsha..

    May be the selectors request him again to wear the test cap....

  • POSTED BY 100_rabh on | April 15, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    its so eye-soothing to see Warne bown aftel the complexity of Murali's and Bhajji's action. The best spinner that world cricket has ever seen.

  • POSTED BY ABHI-123 on | April 15, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    The Greatest bowler ever..For he made everyone want to bowl leg spin..No other bowler has done that across continents...

  • POSTED BY Inaamhaq on | April 15, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    Come on he is bolwing aginst novices - one or two big ticket items the rest are good indian players yet to develop and he would look good - would he survive the full india team or sri lanka i am not sure

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    very nice article sir...I am really a big fan of your commentary and writing skills

  • POSTED BY Browndog1968 on | April 15, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    I didn't see Bradman bat or Sobers play but I got to see Sachin and Warne and for that I am greatful.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 5:03 GMT

    One of the most extravagant and stylish cricket personalities, he is stupendously brilliant. I would love to see him take the Royals to the final.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    Apart from his fantastic bowling skills he is a superb motivator. I enjoyed watching him on the ground. You always a get a feeling that there is Shane warne in some corner waiting to change the game. I am sure Royals will see new heroes this year too under Warne's captaincy.

  • POSTED BY Sehwagology on | April 15, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    The most influential and charismatic cricketer of his generation. And its foremost entertainer. The word genius is vastly overused in sport. Warne however is the very embodiment of the word. A fine leader too. Based on talent alone Rajasthan Royals should be also-rans. Yet we all know they will be bona fide contenders due to Warne's leadership skills.

  • POSTED BY ns_krishnan on | April 15, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    I too have been impressed by Warne so far. But, I would like to see him against the likes of Gambhir, Sachin , Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Laxman .

  • POSTED BY kapilesh23 on | April 15, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    There was never before and never will be another Shane Warne .Though Tendulkar is scoring runs I don't really enjoy his batting we all know he has become more defensive by the years ,even murali seems to have lost his zip and we can't see lara now .he is the one and only entertainer who will entertain everyone as long as he is on the ground .

  • POSTED BY boris6491 on | April 15, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    Harsha, your articles are the most insightful and truth filled of any writer on Cricinfo. I must confess to have felt the same way that sadly, Warne just seemed old and past it in the last IPL. Despite that, I was thrilled when I heard that him and Gilchrist, another great who flopped last year, would play on. Yes, it was a given that neither would be at their peaks. Both have been retired for 4 and 3 years respectively, considerable periods. But, as an enormous fan of both, it is just still exciting to see them on a cricket field and savouring the prospect of both of them producing some magic on the field. Gilly hasn't yet but after a reasonably successful stint for Middlesex not too long ago, I hope that he will. Warne though, has been thrilling. Unlike last season, he has come on this season and has brought the same anticipation of something happening as he did for the duration of his career. They are both champions and I hope to see both of them wind the clock back this season.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    So true .. watching Warne bowl is one of the eternal charms of modern day cricket. He did look a bit under the weather last year - yet one of the abiding memory remains of the game where Deccan Chargers led by a valiant Rohit Sharma tried hard as they could but couldn't trump Warne's mind and theater.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | April 15, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    It was great to see Shane Warne bowl after all the years he has not played top level cricket. It would have been wonderful if Piyush Chawla had been playing for the RRs because basically Piyush has all the skills that a leg spinner must have. What was most noticeable was that Warne mostly bowled at around 48 to 50 mph which facilitates the flight, dip and drift that Harsha talks about. And his run up is slow not hurried like Piyush Chawla's is.The other thing is the transfer of weight and a prominent push of the shoulder. Shane Warne may have been a special creation but it is best remembered that a good duplicate is better than a bad original. Maybe there is something for Piyush to make it a point to watchthe genius of Shane Warne through videos if he wants to come back into the team. I remember Rusi Surti consciously copying Gary Sobers. He had a fair amount of success at even the highest level. It does'nt matter if you are considered a clone of a genius.

  • POSTED BY psychicsaint on | April 15, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    a magician never forgets his tricks however old he gets...

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  • POSTED BY psychicsaint on | April 15, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    a magician never forgets his tricks however old he gets...

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | April 15, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    It was great to see Shane Warne bowl after all the years he has not played top level cricket. It would have been wonderful if Piyush Chawla had been playing for the RRs because basically Piyush has all the skills that a leg spinner must have. What was most noticeable was that Warne mostly bowled at around 48 to 50 mph which facilitates the flight, dip and drift that Harsha talks about. And his run up is slow not hurried like Piyush Chawla's is.The other thing is the transfer of weight and a prominent push of the shoulder. Shane Warne may have been a special creation but it is best remembered that a good duplicate is better than a bad original. Maybe there is something for Piyush to make it a point to watchthe genius of Shane Warne through videos if he wants to come back into the team. I remember Rusi Surti consciously copying Gary Sobers. He had a fair amount of success at even the highest level. It does'nt matter if you are considered a clone of a genius.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    So true .. watching Warne bowl is one of the eternal charms of modern day cricket. He did look a bit under the weather last year - yet one of the abiding memory remains of the game where Deccan Chargers led by a valiant Rohit Sharma tried hard as they could but couldn't trump Warne's mind and theater.

  • POSTED BY boris6491 on | April 15, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    Harsha, your articles are the most insightful and truth filled of any writer on Cricinfo. I must confess to have felt the same way that sadly, Warne just seemed old and past it in the last IPL. Despite that, I was thrilled when I heard that him and Gilchrist, another great who flopped last year, would play on. Yes, it was a given that neither would be at their peaks. Both have been retired for 4 and 3 years respectively, considerable periods. But, as an enormous fan of both, it is just still exciting to see them on a cricket field and savouring the prospect of both of them producing some magic on the field. Gilly hasn't yet but after a reasonably successful stint for Middlesex not too long ago, I hope that he will. Warne though, has been thrilling. Unlike last season, he has come on this season and has brought the same anticipation of something happening as he did for the duration of his career. They are both champions and I hope to see both of them wind the clock back this season.

  • POSTED BY kapilesh23 on | April 15, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    There was never before and never will be another Shane Warne .Though Tendulkar is scoring runs I don't really enjoy his batting we all know he has become more defensive by the years ,even murali seems to have lost his zip and we can't see lara now .he is the one and only entertainer who will entertain everyone as long as he is on the ground .

  • POSTED BY ns_krishnan on | April 15, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    I too have been impressed by Warne so far. But, I would like to see him against the likes of Gambhir, Sachin , Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Laxman .

  • POSTED BY Sehwagology on | April 15, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    The most influential and charismatic cricketer of his generation. And its foremost entertainer. The word genius is vastly overused in sport. Warne however is the very embodiment of the word. A fine leader too. Based on talent alone Rajasthan Royals should be also-rans. Yet we all know they will be bona fide contenders due to Warne's leadership skills.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    Apart from his fantastic bowling skills he is a superb motivator. I enjoyed watching him on the ground. You always a get a feeling that there is Shane warne in some corner waiting to change the game. I am sure Royals will see new heroes this year too under Warne's captaincy.

  • POSTED BY on | April 15, 2011, 5:03 GMT

    One of the most extravagant and stylish cricket personalities, he is stupendously brilliant. I would love to see him take the Royals to the final.

  • POSTED BY Browndog1968 on | April 15, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    I didn't see Bradman bat or Sobers play but I got to see Sachin and Warne and for that I am greatful.