My tribute to Shane Warne
First of all who was Shane Warne? Well, Shane Warne was a former Australian leg spinner, born in Ferntree Gully, in the suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria on September 13, 1969. He played 145 test matches and 194 one-day international matches from 1992–2007. At the same time, he had taken 708 and 293 wickets in tests and ODI matches respectively. Furthermore, he was the part of the World Cup winning squad during the 1999 world cup in England and was also a part of the squad who had clean swept England in the Ashes series in Australia in 2006/07. So now after the brief introduction, I will be sharing his story from my perspective.
When did Shane Warne start his international cricket journey?
Basically, he started his international cricket journey by making his test debut against India at SCG in Sydney in the early days of 1992. Yes, he made his test debut when Sachin Tendulkar played his first test series in Australia at the age of 19. Luckily, he was fortunate enough to pick a couple of wickets during that series as he was being smashed all around the park by batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar and Ravi Shastri. Somehow, he finally found his charm of taking wickets when he had clean bowled Mike Gatting all around his legs in the Ashes series of 1993 in England. From there onwards, he turned the tables on his opponents and was literally on a rampage in terms of taking wickets for Australia in the next 4–5 years. I think this was a magnificent record for a bowler like him who was new to international cricket at that point of time.
On the other hand, by the year 1999, he had 300 wickets in his pocket. At the same time, he was introduced to the one-day internationals where he started not so bad as he had during his initial test matches days. Later he became the king of spin in the ODI matches when he appeared for the 1996 world cup in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. During that world cup, he took 12 wickets and was rewarded with “Man of the Match” title in the semi-final match at Mohali with the figures of 4/36 which helped the Australians reach finals against Sri Lanka. Sadly, they lost to Sri Lanka, thanks to excellent batting by Arvinda De Silva and his team. However, the loss did not discourage him much as he continued taking wickets for his country which paved way for the Australians to win the following world cup at England in 1999. In that world cup, he was the pioneer for his team where he helped his team to win two important matches like the semi-final and the finals against South Africa and Pakistan. He took wickets of the big players of both the teams at crucial stages, which helped his team win the world cup. Afterwards, he played many one-day matches before he retired from that format in 2005. As far as his batting was concerned, he was quite handy with the bat crowning best score of 99 and 55 respectively before he officially retired from all formats of international cricket in 2007.
Why was Shane Warne banned from cricket in 2003?
The reason Shane Warne was suspended from playing any international cricket during that year was, he was tested positive with a drug substance known as fluid tablet. Nevertheless, in support of his innocence he clarified that it was a prescribed medicine which was given to him by his mother to work on his appearance. Later, a committee from the Australian Cricket Board found him guilty and immediately served him a one-year ban from international cricket. Adding more insult to injury, he was not even allowed to participate for the 2003 cricket world cup in South Africa.
During the time of his suspension from international cricket, he was not even allowed to play charity cricket matches which was not acceptable as per the rules of the World Doping Agency. Inspite of all kinds of criticism, he was hired by Nine Network, an Australian television broadcasting company which covered every cricket match all across Australia. At that point of time, he was hired as a commentator when India toured Australia for a four-match test series against them in 2003/04. Along with being a commentator, he also participated in a non-profit consultancy role with St Klinda, Australian Rules team, for the Australian Football team, but he was not allowed to continue, as he was doing it during the time of his suspension from international cricket. Fortunately, later he got the chance to make a comeback to international cricket against Sri Lanka at Galle in 2004 where he was the second player after Courtney Walsh to pick 500 test wickets. In my opinion, it was ridiculous of the Australian Cricket board and the World doping agency to ban him for just a medicine for his personal appearance, till now it does not make much sense. I strongly believe when a cricket board bans a player they must also keep in mind as to how adversely this might effect the career of the player. I pray no other cricketer has to go through what Shane Warne encountered in his playing days.
How was Shane Warne’s experience with the 20- 20 cricket in IPL?
After his retirement from the international cricket in 2007, he was signed up by Rajasthan Royals for the Indian Premier League in the year 2008. Thanks to Shane Warne’s extraordinary leadership skills, Rajasthan Royals were able to win the first season of IPL of the following year. Furthermore, he led the team until 2011 before he retired from that T20 league. Well, he had also joined the Melbourne Stars in the Australian Big Bash league in the same year when he retired from IPL. Unfortunately, he was surrounded by controversies during his time in the Big Bash league. In 2013, during the tournament he had a heated confrontation with Marlon Samuels from the Melbourne Renegades team, in which he got physical and used inappropriate words for which he was fined and banned for one match. By July 2013, he officially retired from all formats of international cricket. The last international cricket match he played was for the Rest of the World in the Bicentenary Celebration match at Lords, London in July 2014.
In what ways did Shane Warne influence cricket from his playing days?
Luckily, he had the opportunity to influence the sport of cricket by setting a few examples. Like, the delivery where he took the wicket of Mike Gatting became the “Ball of the Century” because no other bowler had the audacity to take the wicket of this iconic batsman at that point of time. The other example of his influence towards the game is he was also known for hitting many sixes when he was in the crease, thus his batting which prove quite vital for his team. Even before, he retired from cricket, he always would have new tricks in his mind to take a couple more wickets off his bowling. In my opinion, it is rare to see cricketer of his stature on the grounds, its always a sight for sore eyes. I eagerly look forward to see other cricketers who can influence the game of cricket, both on field and off field, the way Shane Warne did.
What were Shane Warne’s finest memories from his playing days?
His finest memories were — when he took 700th wicket against England at MCG during the boxing day test match in 2006, or turning the course of the match in favour of his team against West Indies during the 1996 world cup in India, or getting out at 99 in the funniest fashion against New Zealand at Perth in 2001/02. For a person of his calibre, it’s not easy for us cricket lovers to forget him or his achievements in the world of cricket. How can we forget the way he enthralled his cricket fans and kept them entertained with his brand of cricket for almost twenty years, till prior to his demise? As a cricket follower I bow down in honour of a great sportsperson for his amazing contributions to the game over an incredible career.
What did Shane Warne do outside cricket?
As I had mentioned earlier outside the field he worked with the Nine television network as a commentator and as a non-profit consultancy role with a team from the Australian football league in 2003/04. Apart from that, he participated in the World Tsunami Appeal match at Melbourne in 2005 as a fundraiser for the people affected by tsunami in Sri Lanka and a few parts of the Indian Ocean. In addition, he made a Guest Appearance in the Australian series- Kath & Kim in 2007. Later, he hosted a chat show known as “Warnie” in 2010 where he used to interview celebrities all around Australia with a little flavour of cricket in it. In the end, he also had a charitable trust known as the Shane Warne foundation where he worked to help the underprivileged children and the kids with serious medical conditions in Australia.
How was Shane Warne’s personal life?
Shane Warne was married to Simone Callahan from 1995–2005 with whom he had three kids. Later, he was engaged to Elizabeth Hurley in 2011 but their engagement was called off in 2013 due to some personal reasons. A television documentary was announced on Warne’s relationship history in 2016 but it got cancelled in 2017 due to pre-production issues. Later in August 2021, he was tested positive for COVID 19 and was put on ventilator support for some time, but later once out of hospital he did not have any long lasting complications from corona.
What was the cause of Shane Warne’s death?
Shane Warne was on Vacation in Thailand, prior to his death. Unfortunately, his fellow cricketer Rod Marsh had passed away and Shane Warne had paid his final tribute via Twitter just a few hours before his death. Shane Warne passed away on March 4, 2022 at the age of 52 due to cardiac arrest. His body was flown back to Melbourne in Australia for the last rites. It was announced that Shane Warne would be honoured in a state funeral at the Melbourne Cricket Ground at Melbourne on March 30, 2022. Though I had the good fortune of meeting the Australian Team in Delhi, but unfortunately Shane Warne was not part of the visiting team, which was my big loss.
In conclusion, Shane Warne shall be remembered and known as the larger-than-life sportsperson and one of the best legendary spinners from Australia. In the end, we hope to see someday a cricketer who might surpass Shane Warne’s wicket tally in the future.
A salute to the legendary Cricketer!!