Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thank you for the magic, Warnie! (concluding part)

In continuation to the first part of the series, which can be viewed here, this is the concluding part.

3. Warne’s 96: Now you may think when did this happen? Yes, Warne’s highest score is the 99 against New Zealand (which they discovered later that he was actually out off a no-ball), so when did the 96 come by. In 2005, Warne took the Test Cricket arena with a storm where he recorded some unbelievable and enviable milestones. He had a fantastic Ashes series in England, which England won 2-1, where he took 40 wickets and scored 249 runs. Not to forget, it was in this very series that Warne become the first bowler ever to scalp 600 victims in test cricket. Cherry on the cake – he finished the year with 96 wickets in a calendar year, a world record!

2. Mike Gatting bowled Warne: Need I say more? Well, for the unfortunate few who haven’t seen it yet, this one’s easily found on youtube and is a must watch. What seemed to be drifting down leg, after having pitched outside leg-stump, pitched and turned to hit middle and off. And that was what begun the revival of classic leg-spin bowling. Take a bow! Also equally accomplishing are the ones that had Gooch (and at least a dozen others) bowled round their legs and Basit Ali (I think) bowled between his legs (very similar how Sachin had his best ball bowl Moin Khan – only being an off-break instead).

1. Captain Warne takes home the Cup: The Gatting dismissal would have taken the cake because that the ‘rise of the legend’. But along came another chapter that was almost not going to be written. Warne, with 708 wickets to his tally, retired at the SCG in 2006 after the 2006 Ashes victory. There was nothing left to be proved, nothing left to be accomplished and Warne was to live his life happily ever after. Along came 2008 and the much awaited Indian Premier League (IPL). Warne’s name was the first to pop out in the bids, and with no bids, Rajasthan Royals managed to get him at his base price. Now, what would a leggie retired two years ago, even though one of the best bowlers of all times, have in a run-fest T20 competition? Captaincy, Coaching and Mentoring – that’s what the Royals offered Warnie in a team that hardly had any stars to bank on for a winning a match, let alone go all the way. Experts tipped them to at best cause an upset or two. However, Warne led, inspired and transpired champions. His innovative ways his master experience proved that he was the best captain that Australia never had. Warne and his romantics (as Harsha Bhogle calls them) won a record 11 off 14 matches, with a 100% record at home, and went on to lift the maiden IPL trophy. It was like witnessing a saga – moments that I vividly remember, moments that further glorified Warne’s legacy!

I’m going to borrow a line – If they ever tell my story, let them say that I walked with giants. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die. Let them say I lived in the time of Shane Warne, the greatest leg-spinner of all times!

Thank you Shane Warne – you will be missed!

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