The sheikh of tweak
Shane Warne, The sheikh of tweak. The blond bamboozler. Hollywood. A genius on the field. A tharki (the Hindi word sounds better than the English one) little bastard off it. He was all of that and more. I've said it before and I'll say it again: In all the 21 years that I have been watching the game, I have not seen anyone who is more capable of making a difference in a test match. If I can stick my neck out, and say another sacrligeous thing; I don't think anyone in the history of the game, ever, has been more capable of deciding a test match, Bradman and Sobers included.
But obviously, this great man, this genius, has been about more than statistics and wins and losses. He has been about the big, looping, drifting, dipping, ripping leg breaks that are so orgasmic to watch. He has been about the flipper, the zooter, the slider and the toppie, which when used as variations with his sharply turning leg breaks, have spelt the death knell for so many batters over the last decade and a half. And about talking up each of those deliveries so that even when he lost the ability to control half of them in the latter half of his career, he still beat the batter in the mind. And he was about the wonderful, intelligent sledge, although Tubby Taylor claims that he was more about the four lettered word followed by some incoherent nonsense. The only flaws I can think of are a) The sparingly used googly, which he rarely bowled, because, in his own words, good batsmen could pick it up and b) An over reliance, sometimes, on trying to bowl the batsman out behind his legs or at slip or short-leg. To those who might wonder why I think he should be faulted for that when he has 700 test wickets,
the answer is simple: His record in India would have been infinitely better had he mastered the art of enticing batsmen to go over the top or through cover a la Subhash Gupte.
Having said that however, he did revive classical leg-spin, post Qadir. Is he the greatest spinner ever? Yes; I am sure of that. The Indians who bitch about his record against India being poor, and about Murali being the better bowler, can go stuff it. Murali's record against India is comparable.
Warney's action is infinitely cleaner, and he is far better to watch.
I wish he would play on longer, as long as he physically can, but I can understand his desire to quit. Just as well Australia lost the last Ashes, else he would have retired then apparently. Kinda makes me wish Australia had lost these Ashes too. Well, whatever! Warney, you will be missed.