On This Day In 1993: Shane Warne's 'Ball Of The Century' Bamboozles Mike Gattting & England
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On This Day In 1993: Shane Warne’s ‘Ball Of The Century’ Bamboozles Mike Gattting & England

Shane Warne 'ball of the century' [Photo-Getty]

June 04, 1993. England vs Australia, Old Trafford. Ashes. Exactly 27 years to the day, Shane Keith Warne signaled a warning to the entire world. A warning that would turn into reality in the course of the next 14 years as the leg-spinner went on to bamboozle batsman around the world, 708 to be precise.

And, it wasn’t a spell or a five-wicket haul that announced the arrival of the legendary leg-spinner. It was what is now called the ‘ball of the century’ when Shane Warne delivered a stunning leg-break to bamboozle the off-stump of a 79-Test veteran Mike Gatting.

On This Day In 1993: Shane Warne's 'Ball Of The Century' Bamboozles Mike Gattting & England
Shane Warne [Photo-Getty]
After taking his customary four-pace run-up, Warne swirled his wrist to give some hefty revolutions on the ball. The ball pitched outside leg-stump.

Gatting stretched forward not reaching the pitch of the ball, only to see the ball whiz past his bat to knock his off-stump over.

Gatting was bewildered, as was everyone including the Australians.

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The iconic image of bewildered Mike Gatting after Shane Warne’s ‘ball of the century’ still resonates in the mind of the cricketing folklore.

On This Day In 1993: Shane Warne's 'Ball Of The Century' Bamboozles Mike Gattting & England
Mike Gatting [Photo-Getty]
Shane Warne had become an overnight sensation and years later, the legendary leg-spinner reminisced about its immediate aftermath.

“I was 23 when that happened. I remember going to the Windmill Pub in London, we were staying at the Westbury Hotel 100 yards up the road … and I went for a pint with Merv (Hughes),” Shane Warne was quoted as saying by Indian Express.

He added: “And when I came out there was, without a word of a lie, probably 25-30 photographers just taking pictures. The next day was about ‘Shane Warne was at the pub’. I was getting critiqued about what I was wearing, I had ’10 things you don’t know about Shane Warne’ and I’m reading it going, ‘that’s not true, I didn’t know that about me!”

 

When Fred Trueman’s prediction about Shane Warne went horribly wrong

On This Day In 1993: Shane Warne's 'Ball Of The Century' Bamboozles Mike Gattting & England
Shane Warne mobbed by his teammates [Photo-Getty]
Interestingly, England hadn’t considered Warne a threat coming into the 1993 Ashes series. In 11 Tests leading into that series, Warne had just one five-wicket haul to his name.

In fact, during the warm-up game ahead of the series, Graeme Hick had smashed Warne, who returned with figures of 1-122. Australia did the right thing by not exposing Warne in the One-day series leading into the Ashes.

Fred Trueman, in his Ashes preview, had even said that Australia had given England a gift by selecting Warne and Tim May for the Ashes. He had further added that there could be a feast of runs for the English batsmen.

I’m just back from Australia and I can tell you their selectors have made England a gift of the Ashes. I can’t remember such a mish-mash of an Aussie squad in the 36 years I have been writing for the paper. Spinners Tim May and Shane Warne are not going to make England grovel the way the Indians did, so there should be a feast of runs for Gooch, Hick, and Gower.” Fred Trueman was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

How’s that for a prediction gone horribly wrong? Warne not only claimed four wickets in each innings to help Australia win the series, but he also cast a spell on the England batsmen for the entirety of his career, claiming 195 of them in his 15-year-old career.

Watch the ‘ball of the century’ here:

Yash Mittal

Just a student of this beautiful game called cricket. Writer. Storyteller.