Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin paid tribute to Shane Warne, explaining that the late Australian legend redefined bowling and introduced spin as an attacking commodity in world cricket. Remarkably, Warne died last week aged just 52 and an autopsy conducted by Thai police revealed natural causes.
“I see Warne as a standard-bearer, taking the spin aspect of bowling to the top of the cricket world map. The top three wicket takers in the world are spinners Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble,” Ashwin said on his YouTube channel.
“He was an interesting character. So many Australian legends had so many nice things to say about him. I still can’t accept that life is so fickle. We cannot predict what can happen.”
Warne, considered the greatest spinner of all time, racked up 708 wickets with his leg spin for Australia in 145 Tests. He has caught 293 scalps in his 194 ODI appearances.
“Shane Warne was a colorful character, he redefined bowling, he won over 1000 international wickets, not many can pull off that rare feat.”
Warne had thrown the ‘ball of the century’, fooling Mike Gatting at Old Trafford with a delivery that landed on the stump of the leg and, as the Englishman tried to defend himself, turned viciously to cut off his bail.
Ashwin reveals his favorite Warne delivery
That’s not Ashwin’s favorite Warne delivery, though.
“Shane Warne brought spin to this cricket world as an offensive asset. Everyone will be talking about Warne’s delivery to Mike Gatting, but my favorite is Warne’s delivery to Andrew Strauss in the 2005 Ashes,” Ashwin said.
“He fought almost single-handedly for Australia in this series. He was a maestro. He was an extraordinary person and he lived his life to the fullest,” he added.
The veteran off-spinner, India’s second-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, also spoke about how a traumatic childhood accident that left both legs broken helped Warne master one of the most difficult crafts in the game.
“I spoke to Rahul Dravid who was very sad. For a spinner, your shoulder and upper body have to be extremely strong because you have to do a lot of twists to spin the ball,” Ashwin said.
“Because in order for a crackpot to master his craft, one should keep bowling in the nets. Even more if you’re a leg spinner. He had strong shoulders and that was his massive advantage,” he said.
Rahul Dravid shared a dressing room with Warne for three seasons with the Rajasthan Royals.
“It seems that Rahul Bhai asked him: ‘How do you have such strong shoulders? What do you do?” It’s such a unique story. There’s a sport called Aussies Rules Football.
“It’s a sport like rugby. It seems he wanted to play the sport but wasn’t built for it as the people who play it are big and well built guys.”
It is a well-known incident that Warne suffered two broken legs as a child when another child jumped from a great height and landed on his back.
With both legs in casts, Warne had to push himself around in a cart, developing extraordinary strength in his upper body in the process.
“Well, they used to bully him and it seems he broke both his legs playing. He could not walk and was on bed rest. For 3-4 weeks he walked or floated with his bare hands and these strongly shaped his shoulders and there was no turning back.
“He told Rahul Bhai that. We all face obstacles in life, but look how Warne turned it into his winning formula,” Ashwin added.