Warne: leggie who inspired a generation

Considered a magician with the ball, Warne was responsible for single-handedly inspiring a generation of cricketers


Abdul Majid March 05, 2022
Australia's Shane Warne acknowledges the crowd as he walks off at tea after he bowled Andrew Strauss to claim his 700th test wicket on December 26, 2006. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Cricket may not be as big as football in terms of the sporting grandeur and reachability, but legends of the game of the willow and the kookaburra are as universal as they come.

One such legend, Australian spin great Shane Warne, turned the last page of his life on Friday, when a suspected heart attack ended his 52-year-long journey in the material world.

Warne, born in Victoria in 1969, and named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Century, had claimed 708 Test wickets for Australia between 1992 and 2007 in a 15-year career. He also lifted the ODI World Cup in 1999 with the Australia team.

Considered a magician with the ball, Warne was responsible for single-handedly inspiring a generation of cricketers to take up leg-spin in order to enter the cricketing world.

Pakistani leg-spin legend Abdul Qadir introduced the art to the world, but Warne is considered to be the innovator in the sense that he brought aggression to leg-spin bowling. The idea that a leg-spinner can be used to take wickets, but may leak a lot of runs in the process was introduced to the world by none other than Warne.

Apart from his flair with the ball, Warne’s personality was also flamboyant. His flippers and wrong ones complemented his blonde hair, both things that he flaunted with grace and authority.

Read: Australian cricket legend Shane Warne dies of ‘suspected heart attack’

Warne’s role in Pakistan cricket is also invaluable. When Pakistani leg-spinner Yasir Shah burst on to the scene, it was Warne who met him and gave him valuable tips to turn his career into a great one.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s young leg-spinner turned all-rounder Shadab Khan tweeted that he was inspired by Warne to take up leg-spin. “Heartbroken about @ShaneWarne’s news. Rest in peace legend. I used to keep watching him take wickets on TV. So when I started proper cricket, I decided to become a legspinner. Have no words to express my sorrow. Prayers for the departed and family.”

Indian spinner Amit Mishra also considers Warne to the reason he turned to spin to make a career in cricket. He said on Twitter: “Extremely sad to hear about the passing away of the legendary cricketer @ShaneWarne @CricketAus. I consider him my idol & I chose to be a spinner only because of him. My heartfelt condolences to his family.”

While the stories of him inspiring the current crop of leg-spinners are aplenty, many of his cricketing colleagues from his days, were shocked by his sudden departure.

Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar believes Australia great went away “too young”. “Shocked, stunned & miserable…,” he wrote on Twitter. “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!”

The whole cricketing world shared social media posts on the leg-spin legend’s demise, but no condolences can fill the void left by Warne. His chirpy voice in commentary and swag-filled personality, even after leaving cricket, will now be missed forever.

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