HOLLYWOOD Hooray for
SHANE WARNE FACTFILE ROBERT SMITH looks at the end of a simply majestic career: Warne — spin genius with a soap-opera life
Full name: Shane Keith Warne Born: September 13, 1969, in Melbourne Age: 41 years Major teams: Australia, Victoria, Rajasthan Royals, Hampshire Bowling style: Right-arm leg-break Test debut: v India in Sydney, January, 1992 Last Test: v England, Sydney, January, 2007 Test record: 145 matches, 708 wickets, 25.42 average One-day record: 194 matches, 293 wickets, 25.74 average Warne’s achievements: • In 2000 selected as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, the only specialist bowler selected in the quintet • Leading wickettaker in Tests before being overtaken by Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka • Only second bowler after Muralitharan to take combined 1 000 wickets in Tests and ODIs • Five-wicket hauls in a Test innings: 37 • Ten-wicket hauls in a Test: 10 • Best Test bowling: 8-71 v England, Brisbane, November 1994 • Test hat-tricks: (1) v England, Melbourne, December 1994 • Highest Test score: 99 v New Zealand, Perth, November 2001 SHANE Warne mixed legendaryegendary cricket deeds with lurid headlineses away from the pitch in a career as bewitchingching as his famed wrong ’un.
Warne, who bowed outut of professional cricket aged 41 yesterday withwith thethe IndianIndian Pre-Premier League’s Rajasthan Royals, was never one for half-measures throughouthroughout his ex-extraordinary 15-year Test career.career.
The greatest legspinner of them all carved out a flamboyant lifestylee cast outside the mould of a traditional cricketingcketing icon, often putting himself at odds withth the game’s pur-purists.
Vainglorious Warne did thingsthings hishis wayway and will be remembered for his dalliances and forthright opinions as muchuch as for his pio-pioneering 708 Test wickets inn a 145-Test career that made him the scourge of batsmen world-worldwide.
Warne is entrenched in Australia’s sport-sporting pantheon — in the eyess of many he is sec-second only to cricket’s immortalrtal Don Bradman.
Yet his achievements are tempered for some by his penchant for a zesty private life, including a recent tabloid affair with British actress Liz Hurley.
But Warne’s contributionn to cricket is inar-inarguable, notably after he resurrectedsurrected thethe wan-waning art of leg-spin, becameme the first bowler to take 700 Test wickets and delivered the most famous ball in the sport’s history.
Warne posted inauspiciousous figuresfigures of 1-150 in his 1992 Test debut, butut knuckled down under spin guru Terry Jenner. Eighteen months later, Warne rivetedted the cricketing world with the “ball of thee century” against England.
Warne’s first leg-break deliveryelivery inin anan AshesAshes Test turned viciously to bamboozlemboozle England’s Mike Gatting at Old Traffordd inin 1993,1993, thatthat her-heralded the arrival of a cricketingcketing superstar.
He was a master of mindd games, targeting batsmen ahead of a seriess and warning he was working on a new mysteryystery ball to bowl out his “bunnies” in the opposition line-up.
He gave a man-of-the-match performance when Australia won the World Cup in 1999, and is known for a sharp andnd inventive crick-cricketing brain which saw him longlong toutedtouted asas Aus-Australian Test skipper.
But even Warne himself onceonce describeddescribed his life as a soap opera, suchh was the litany of off-field controversies.
“Warney”, also nicknamedmed “Hollywood”, survived drug and bookmakingaking scandals and pursued an energetic love life,ife, whichwhich isis widely thought to have cost him thehe Australian cap-captaincy.
In 1998 it emerged that WarneWarne andand Austral-Australian team-mate Mark Waughgh had been fined three years earlier for supplyingplying information to an Indian bookmaker.
Warne was stripped off the Australian team vice-captaincy in 2000 after it emergedemerged hehe hadhad bombardedbombarded anan EnglishEnglish nursenurse with lewd text messages after meeting her in a nightclub.
A series of infidelities culminated in his very public break-up from his wife of 10 years, Simone, with whom he has three children.
And yet his performance in Australia’s failed Ashes campaign in England in 2005 is regarded by some pundits as the pinnacle of his career, when he overcame his disintegrating marriage and a tabloid frenzy to take 40 wickets.
He also missed the 2003 World Cup in South Africa afterafter hehe testedtested positivepositive onon tournament-tournamenteveeve for a banned diuretic — a weight-loss pill sometimes used to mask steroidssteroids —— inin aa drugdrug scandal which saw him banned for a year in 2003.
Warne returned to Test cricket in March 2004, but never again played international one-day matches, instead preferring to concentrate on the longer form of the game.
Warne was always sensitive about his weight and recently shed more than 10 kg (after dropping alcohol and fast food and replacing them with water and health shakes).
Warne continued playing after ending his Test career in January 2007 and scripted a title triumph with a rag-tag team in the IPL Twenty20 competition’s first edition in 2008, highlighting his nous and motivational skills.
But his final season in charge of Rajasthan this year did not offer his hoped-for fairy-tale finale.
He startedstarted well,well, initiallyinitially managingmanaging to fox batsmen with his turn and flight, but grad-graduallyually lostlost hishis rhythmrhythm asas eveneven inexperiencedinexperienced youngstersyoungsters beganbegan hittinghitting himhim forfor sixessixes withwith ease and regularity. Off-field troubles also spoiled his valedictory season.
He had an ugly spat with a local cricket administrator, a tiff with Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar, and appeared dejected in his final matches after criticising the pitch used at home games.
This week Warne was fined $50 000 over a row with the secretary of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, whom he berated in front of TV cameras over the choice of wicket.
Right to the very end, Warne’s cricket career was never dull.