Bowler of 'The Ball of the Century' and one of Wisden's five cricketers of the century, Shane Keith Warne's career was made for superlatives, but had its fair share of controversies to boot.
Warne practically re-invented the art of leg spin in an age when quicks and finger spinners reigned supreme. He span the ball prodigiously and had such variety that he could reduce a batsman to a quivering wreck. But it was his control – notoriously difficult to achieve for a wrist spinner – that helped him bag 708 Test wickets for an Australian team who dominated the long form of Cricket for a generation.
He exploded onto the Ashes scene with a single delivery to England batsman Mike Gatting – an excellent player of slow bowling – that pitched well outside leg, turned sharply and hit the top of off stump. Gatting departed still unsure as to how he'd got out and 'The Ball of the Century' ushered Warne to the top table of international cricket.
He was no mug with the bat either, scoring more than 3,000 Test runs without ever making it to three figures.
But a number of controversies dogged him throughout an otherwise brilliant career. Off the field, his sexual antics raised many an eyebrow and on the field he was banned for failing a drugs test and was deemed to have brought the game into disrepute for accepting money from bookmakers in exchange for information about pitch and weather conditions.
Nobody's perfect, even if many of Warne's performances were. And the current resurgence of the seemingly lost art of leg spin can be traced directly back to SK Warne.
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