Shane Warne: An imperfect man with an arm of gold

Shane Warne was an entertainer. The Australian cricket legend was a match winner and crowd puller. Over the course of a glittering career, Shane Warne made leg spin bowling look sexy. Fans around the world paid good money to watch him bowl. Warne’s unique approach to the crease before delivering his gems was a sight to behold.

Shane Warne, one of the greatest to ever play the game, is no more. He died of a suspected heart attack on March 4th. The cricket fraternity was shocked. Not many hours before his death, Warne had paid his respects to another legend, Australian cricketer Rodney Marsh, who had also died of a heart attack.

Warne dies: ‘The man who made Spin cool is gone’

There was a general sense of excitement when Shane Warne burst onto the international scene in 1992. He was chubby, yes, but his explosive leg spin left the world confused. Could any man perform that kind of magic with a cricket ball in hand? Shane Warne could. Ask Mike Gatting.

In 1993, Shane Warne made the world sit up and take notice of his skills when he bowled Gatting with a ball that landed outside of the stump and jarred the stump. This happens to be THE most famous ball ever bowled in the annals of the game.

Over the next 14 years, Shane Warne made leg-spin look good again. It was considered a dying art form when he began his career, but Warne’s intervention meant that more and more young cricketers wanted to take it up. Children’s bowling with Shane Warnes Walk, a jump and a jump became a common sight in backyards around the world.

BOND FOR THE ALTER: THE SACHIN-WARNE DUEL

There were exciting battles along the way. Shane Warne’s rivalry with Sachin Tendulkar is well documented. The two men were good friends off the field, but on the field the two would not budge. In 1998, after Sachin Tendulkar destroyed Australia in the Test series at home and then in the Tri-series at Sharjah, Warne said he had had nightmares of the Master Blaster coming down the track to hit him for sixes. No batsman had assailed Warne’s skills like Tendulkar, but the two formed a lifelong friendship. The greatest hitter and the greatest bowler of the age had formed a bond for eternity.

Shane Warne was a crucial cog in the wheels of Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. Warne’s guile and charisma drew crowds as Australia won World Cups, Ashes and Test series in every corner of the world. Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne made up the most feared bowling tackle of the era. Such was Warne’s dominance that Stuart McGill, who would have been the leg spinner of choice on any other international team, had to settle for just a handful of tests in his career.

However, Shane Warne made headlines for reasons other than his cricket craft. Shortly after making his debut for Australia, he was accused of dealing with a bookmaker and was spotted smoking while on a restrictive contract. Additionally, his affairs with women eventually ended his marriage before he became engaged to British actress Liz Hurley. However, Hurley called off the engagement after Warne’s affair with a porn star came to light.

Shane Warne’s darkest moment came in 2003 when he was banned for a year after testing positive for a banned substance. He missed the World Cup, which Australia won with ease.

ADORED AND ADMIRED BY HIS OPPONENTS

Bond Forever: Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar (AFP Photo)

Shane Warne was far from the perfect man and husband. But his art, cricket skills and passion for the game made him a household name. Over 15 years after his last game for Australia, Warne was revered and admired by his opponents at the time and by generations of cricketers who only watched him ply his trade on TV screens.

Famed for his outspokenness, Shane Warne forged long-lasting friendships with some of the world’s most charismatic cricketers. Some of his own team-mates might have disagreed with Warne on certain issues, but there was no denying the blonde leg spinner left a lasting impression few ever could match as a cricketer.

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