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

Weekend Witness - - Talking Sport -

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.

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