Still in disbelief by Shane Warne’s death, India off-spinner Ashwin Ravichandran hailed the late Australian legend for redefining bowling and bringing spin as an attacking commodity in world cricket.
Warne, a spin wizard who made the world fall in love with his craft, died of natural causes at the age of 52 in Thailand on Friday, leaving the world shell-shocked.
“I see Warne as a flag-bearer for carrying the spin aspect of bowling on the front in the world cricketing map. The top three wicket-takers in the world are spinners in Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble,” Ashwin said on his YouTube channel.
“He was an interesting character. So many Australian legends had so many nice things to say about him. I still can’t accept the fact that life is so fickle. We cannot predict what can happen.”
Warne, regarded as the greatest spinner of all time, picked up 708 wickets with his leg-spin for Australia in 145 Tests. In his 194 ODI appearances, he snared 293 scalps.
“Shane Warne was a colourful character, he redefined bowling, he has taken more than 1000 international wickets, not many can achieve this rare feat.”
Warne had bowled the ‘ball of the century’ deceiving Mike Gatting at Old Trafford with a delivery that landed on the leg stump and, as the Englishman tried to defend, turned viciously to clip his off bail.
However, that isn’t Ashwin’s favourite Warne delivery.
“Shane Warne brought spin as an attacking commodity to this cricketing world. Everyone will talk about Warne’s delivery to Mike Gatting, but my favourite is Warne’s delivery to Andrew Strauss in 2005 Ashes,” Ashwin said.
“He almost single-handedly fought for Australia in that series. He was a maestro. He was an extra-ordinary human being and he lived his life to the fullest,” he added.
The seasoned off-spinner, India’s second highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, also spoke about how a traumatic childhood accident, breaking both legs helped Warne master one of the most difficult crafts in the game.
“I was talking to Rahul Dravid who was extremely sad. For a spinner, your shoulder and upper-half of the body has to be extremely strong because you have to use many rotations to spin the ball,” Ashwin said.
“Because for a spinner to master your craft, you should keep bowling in the nets. More so, if you are a leg-spinner. He had strong shoulders and that was his massive advantage,” he said.
Rahul Dravid had shared the dressing room with Warne for three seasons at Rajasthan Royals.
“It seems Rahul Bhai asked him, “How do you have such strong shoulders? What do you do?” It is such a unique story. There is a sport called ‘Aussies Rules Football’.
“It is a sport like rugby. It seems he wanted to play the sport but was not built for it since people who play it are tall and well-built blokes.”
It is a known incident that as a child, Warne had suffered two broken legs when another kid jumped from a height and landed on his back.
With both legs swathed in plaster casts, Warne had to push himself around in a cart, developing extraordinary strength in his upper body.
“So, they used to bully him and it seems he broke both his legs while playing. He couldn’t walk and was on bed rest. For 3-4 weeks he walked or rather floated using his bare hands and those made his shoulders strong and there was no looking back.
“That’s what he told Rahul Bhai. We all face obstacles in life, but look how Warne converted it as his success formula,” Ashwin added.
Inputs from PTI