Former Indian player Ravi Shastri recalled his instance of facing late Australian legendary spin bowler Shane Warne on his Test debut. Warne died of a heart attack on March 4 in Thailand at the age of 52.
Warne was considered as one of the greatest spin bowlers of all time, someone who would deceive the opposition batters with his magical deliveries. Warne’s guile with the ball was as such that he served four Australian skippers during his storied career and was a go-to bowler for any captain.
Shane Warne’s Ball of the century
Warne bowled his career’s best delivery to England’s Mike Gatting during an Ashes Test in Manchester. He bowled a massive leg spinner on a damp pitch, which had a few patches, and the ball pitched way outside the leg stump and went to hit the top of the off-stump. Gatting had no clue with what exactly transpired with him. That ball released from Warne’s fingers is famously called ‘Ball of the Century’.
Warne picked 1001 international wickets from 145 Tests and 194 One-Day International matches, he bagged 38 five-wicket hauls (only one in ODI cricket) in international cricket. He is the second-most wicket-taker in Test cricket with 708 scalps behind Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan.
Shane Warne had tremendous control even in his first Test match: Ravi Shastri
Warne made his Test debut against India on January 2, 1992, at the Sydney Caricket Ground. Australia posted 313 in the first Test and in respond Ravi Shastri led India’s attack as he scored 206 in a remarkable fifth-wicket stand of 196 with Sachin Tendulkar (148).
Interestingly, Shastri was Warne’s first Test wicket of illustrious international career. The former Indian player went down the memory lane to recollect his battle with the spin wizard.
“He had tremendous control even in his first Test match and he spun his leg-break. Right through his career, he might have taken close to 800 wickets, I think 80% of his wicket came through leg-breaks which was his hallmark right through his career,” Shastri told ESPNcricinfo.
“Even in that first Test match, I remember Sachin (Tendulkar) and me batting in a partnership close to 200. The number of times he (Warne) allowed himself to be cut or pulled was (Shastri gets speechless). I can’t remember. I think once I pulled him when I was 190+. Otherwise, his length was immaculate.
“I think drift, turn because he spun it that much, got the drift. He came into the right-hander and then it went away, a sharp turn, tremendous control and great accuracy. He was theatre because of the way he staged it, the way he read the game and the batsman. And at his pop he was outstanding,” he added.
Shane Warne’s state memorial service will be celebrated on March 30 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).