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What Made Shane Warne Great? Remembering A Legendary Cricketing Career

What Made Shane Warne Great? Remembering A Legendary Cricketing Career
By Eoin Harrington Updated

Australian cricket legend Shane Warne was found dead on Friday after a suspected heart attack, in desperately sad news for the world of cricket

Warne, just 52, has passed away far too young, and the outpouring of grief from the sporting world has been immense.

For many, however, this may be the first they have heard of Warne. As the cricket and sporting world mourns a true legend and hero, we look back on an illustrious career.

Who is Shane Warne?: Career highlights

Shane Warne was born on the outskirts of Melbourne in 1969. He began his career at St. Kilda's Cricket Club in the late 1980s - and even played some games of Aussie Rules Football for the St. Kilda's underage teams.

He played as a fast bowler, and got his break as a professional with Warrington Cricket Club in 1991 and slowly worked his way into contention with the Australian test team.

His first big break with the Australian national team came in the 1993 Ashes, when he delivered what became known as the "Ball of the Century". Using an incredible amount of spin, Warne managed to get the ball to swerve away from English batter Mike Gatting in the opening test at Old Trafford, bamboozling Gatting and ultimately bowling him out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwVR28XbZx8

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That wicket set the tone for Australia, who went on to win the series 4-1 on foreign soil. In 1993 alone, Warne took an incredible 72 wickets - a then world record for a calendar year, which he broke himself in 2005. That 2005 record of 96 wickets stands to this day.

Australia would hold the Ashes for the following 12 years from 1993, before the famous English victory of 2005. Despite the ultimate defeat in the series, Warne would deliver another legendary wicket in bowling out Andrew Strauss.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdPBYpUM99E

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Warne was a formidable opponent, with the likes of Kevin Pietersen detailing how tricky the Australian was to play against in his autobiography:

The show started when he was told he was coming on. As soon as he took off his hat and gave it to the umpire the crowd got up, and that was when Warnie’s juices started flowing. He’d come down the pitch a little, go back and make a big show of wiping his hands on the crease to dry them off. Then he’d spin a few balls to himself, but he’d be looking you in the eye the whole time, reminding you who was in control and building the atmosphere that he wanted in the middle. He’d bowl a few sighters to mid-on and mid-off and eventually walk in after a pause at the top of his mark, still staring at you, gaining momentum closer to the wicket. He had a lot of energy in his delivery stride, and then his arm came over and his wrist gave such a rip that there was this prrrrh sound on release, like the fizz you hear when a golfer hits the ball, a kind of whistling vortex. Prrrrrh!

Until 2007, he held the record for the most wickets taken in test cricket, and retired with an astonishing 708 test wickets taken over the course of his career.

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Warne was the star of Australia's 1999 World Cup win, taking four wickets from 33 runs in the final against Pakistan to claim the man-of-the-match award.

However, he departed the 2003 World Cup under a cloud, after testing positive for banned substances ahead of the tournament. He was banned for a year, but returned with a bang, being named in the World Test XI for 2004, 2005, and 2006 and sharing player of the Ashes with Andrew Flintoff in 2005.

He retired from international test cricket after his final test against England in January 2007, and began a period of country-hopping as he embarked on a six-year career in Twenty20 cricket.

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Not only did Warne take an incredible 708 wickets across his test career, but he would take 1,000 in total across his entire international career. He took 293 wickets over the course of 12 years of ODI cricket for Australia.

Shane Warne: Life after cricket

Shane Warne would go on to enjoy a successful career in punditry, contributing to Sky Sports' live international cricket coverage in the UK, as well as FOX Sports' in Australia.

He was also one of the many faces who appeared as a guest captain on A Question of Sport after Ally McCoist's departure from the show in 2007.

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A sad day for cricket

Geoffrey Boycott listed him as one of the greatest of all time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AyPrnM0QLE

In reality, it is a tragedy to be writing an obituary for Shane Warne. At just 52 years old, Warne has left us far too early, and his death will surely keep a hold on the cricketing world for some time.

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He leaves behind a glittering legacy, and will be remembered as one of the greatest bowlers and players in test and ODI cricket history.

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