Often credited with reviving the dying art of leg-spin, Warne made his debut as a 23-year old in a Test match against India in Sydney. By the time he hung up his boots, Warne had picked up 708 wickets in 145 Tests at an incredible average of 25.41. In One-Day Internationals, he finished 293 wickets in 194 outings at 25.73. He was a more than handy lower order batsman as well.
A showman in the truest sense, Warne was a thorough match-winner. His delivery, in 1993 that pitched well outside leg stump and zipped passed Mike Gatting taking his off-bail has often been ranked as the ball of the century. In 2000, Warne was named as one of the Five Cricketers of the Century by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. He was the only bowler in the quintet to make the cut and the only active cricketer at the time.
Warne had his brush with controversies as well. He was tested positive for consuming a banned substance and was subsequently suspended for 12 months because of which he had to miss the 2003 World Cup. In 2006, Warne became the first bowler to pick up 700 Test wickets and remained the leading wicket-taker in the longest format of the game till Muttiah Muralitharan broke his record in 2007.
His final appearance came in the 2006-07 Ashes where Australia won back the urn by clean-sweeping the series 5-0. He continued to play first-class cricket for his County Hampshire while also led Rajasthan Royals to victory in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League in 2008.
First Published: September 13, 2018, 8:17 AM IST