Obituary – Shane Warne- Cricket Legend
Shane Keith Warne (13 September 1969 – 4 March 2022) was an Australian cricketer. A right-arm leg spinner, he is widely considered as one of the greatest bowlers in cricket history, and in 2000 he was selected by a panel of cricket experts as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, the only specialist bowler and the only one still playing at the time.
- Died: March 4, 2022
- Details of death: Died of natural causes at the age of 52.
On 4 June 1993, a 23-year-old Australian with a cocky manner and peroxide blond hair ran up to the wicket at Old Trafford to deliver his first ball in Ashes cricket, said Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail. Although considered a bright prospect in Australia, nothing Shane Warne had done to this point had suggested he was anything out of the ordinary. His early Tests had been unremarkable, and a few weeks previously, in a warm-up game at Worcester, Graeme Hick had hit him to all parts of the ground. Now, from a short, casual-looking run-up, he bowled to Mike Gatting, who was on four. “Two-thirds of the way down the pitch the ball dipped into the leg-side, opening Gatting up like a can of beans, before ripping diagonally across his body to clip the outside of off-stump”, reported Mike Selvey in the next day’s Guardian. “Gatting stood his ground, not in dissent or disappointment, but in total, utter disbelief.”
The “Ball of the Century”, as it became known, turned Warne into a “cricketing superstar”, said Mike Atherton in The Times. And he remained one throughout his career, which ended 14 years later with the leg-spinner having taken 708 Test wickets, then more than any other bowler in history. But Warne wasn’t just the “greatest leg-spinner in the history of the game”, he was also one of its biggest personalities, a “force of nature” who “lived his life to the full, fitting more in one year than many others would” in a lifetime. That was why his death from a suspected heart attack last week came as such a blow. It seems inconceivable someone “so full of energy, so fizzing with the enjoyment of life’s rich possibilities” should be dead at the age of just 52.
Warne was born in 1969 in the Melbourne suburb of Ferntree Gully, said The Daily Telegraph. His father, an insurance consultant, and his German-born mother were both “natural athletes” who encouraged Shane and his brother Jason to try “all kinds of sports”. Warne’s first love was Australian rules football, which he dreamed of playing professionally. He only took up cricket seriously in his late teens, after being rejected by one of Melbourne’s biggest Aussie Rules clubs. It soon became apparent that he “possessed an extraordinary capacity to spin the ball”, largely due to his phenomenal upper body strength: something he attributed to a period as an eight-year-old which he’d spent dragging himself around in a cart, after breaking both legs in an accident.
Once Warne hit his stride in the Test arena, his impact on the game was incalculable, said Matthew Engel in The Guardian. He joined an already formidable Australian team and made it “overwhelmingly stronger”. And he “single-handedly revived the discipline of leg-spin”, which had become “almost a lost art” in a sport dominated by fast bowlers. Combining his prodigious spin with “rare consistency for a wrist-spinner”, Warne would “attack right from the start of a spell”, said Vic Marks in the same paper, staring down batsmen in a cocksure manner and often sledging them mercilessly as well. Under such pressures, batsmen would often cave in psychologically, resorting to “desperate acts of foolishness”.
Date of birth: September 13th 1969
Date of Death: March 4th 2022 (aged 52 years)