Cricket

Shane Warne’s cricketing story should be taken as a whole

Shane Warne's cricketing story should be taken as a whole

“Warne struck again as a delivery trickled down to a drummer trapped like a thief in the spotlight. To some it remains baffling…that such gifts could be given to a seemingly vulgar fellow” – Peter Roebuck in It takes all sorts

Shane Warne was God’s gift to cricket. For a child growing up in the 1990s, Warne was a role model for everyone even though there was an Anil Kumble in India, a Muttiah Muralitharan in Sri Lanka and a Mushtaq Ahmed in Pakistan and yet if you ask these legends authentic now, they too could say they wished they had bowled and hypnotized the world like Warnie did with his leg spin. It was hard for anyone watching the game not to fall in love with this bleached blond beach bum from Melbourne.

It was during the IPL 2009 in South Africa that this writer managed to convince Warne for an interview. The interview was scheduled for 10am just outside the Durban stadium on a Sunday when he was supposed to catch his Rajasthan Royals team bus to the hotel. Due to unusually heavy traffic that day, I was late, just a minute or two, and saw Warne moving to get on the bus. I just pleaded for a few minutes but he nonchalantly said – “Sorry mate, you’re late! Try your luck next time. Shocked and sad to miss such a great opportunity, I chased him until the end. beach and waited a few more hours. Warne was unbothered by my persistence and politely declined, telling me that the time had come for him to chat with his children in Australia and that any effort to persuade him was futile I didn’t give up hope and went to his hotel lobby and asked Yusuf Pathan to convince Warne, eventually the big man gave in, but only with the promise to do the interview a fortnight. later when the Royals were to play a few games in Durban! Better to do it late than never at all, I thought. What ultimately comes out of this interview is not what he said, but how he made sure that i remained the only journalist to do an interview with him that day despite multiple requests from numerous channels and newspapers, as many had felt that my television crew was allowed to approach the training area where Warne sat after finishing his bowling in the net. I remember Warne telling his manager that this reporter had chased me like hell and waited a fortnight, don’t ruin his party by giving his rivals easy access! And in that, I understood why he was considered a great leader, and not just a great cricketer. It was easy to be convinced by what he said. Such was his aura on and off the pitch.

Warne vs. Tendulkar

Sure, Warne was no saint and wasn’t always on his best behavior with the media, but that’s not how cricket will remember him. More than a dozen books have already been written about him and a dozen more can be expected after his sudden disappearance shocked and saddened the world. Warne was a genius but his confrontation with Sachin Tendulkar in an epic battle in the 1998 series is part of folklore. Curiously, one of his rare difficult phases (1998-2001) of his career came up against one of the most dominant teams against the spin; an Indian side that not only had Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, but at the top Navjot Singh Sidhu. In fact, Warne himself had generously credited Sidhu for the famous Tendulkar assault he faced in 1998. And yet Tendulkar’s first dismissal in Chennai where Mark Taylor caught him in the first slide speaks class of Warne against the best. Maybe Warne wasn’t at his best (he suffered a shoulder injury at the time) for most of the battles (9 out of 14 games) against India. His overall numbers against India were no match for his legendary stature, but very few care to remember that he played a significant role in Australia’s triumph in India after more than 35 years of fighting. gap in 2004. Warnie finished with 14 wickets in a three-game series and was second fiddle to an incisively paced attack. For a generation of cricket fans in India and the subcontinent, one of their favorite memories of this epic battle is of Tendulkar hitting those sixes against Warne in Sharjah and Tony Greig going ballistic in the commentary box; but even then, Warne embraced this with all his humility and wholeheartedly acknowledged that Tendulkar was better on these occasions.

His admiration for Tendulkar and later for VVS Laxman spoke of his humility. He played hard and even went sledding, but when necessary he didn’t shy away from acknowledging the greatness of his peers. Essentially, Warne has always been true to his craft and his beloved game.

When the legend took his 500th wicket, the great writer Peter Roebuck penned a vivid description of his career and personality in a single paragraph, which is perhaps enough to wrap up a colossal personality like Warne. “He felt he had greatness inside. It was that belief that allowed him to take so many risks. In a period of pace, he focused on spin. On time of calculation, he pursues the improbable. At the age of reason, he pursued the wildest dreams. As a result, he can be forgiven a great deal, including most of the darkness that also exists in his uncontained persona. man must be taken as a whole. Sensible guys cannot turn the ball at right angles. Indeed, Warne’s cricketing history must be taken as a whole.

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