Friday, August 12, 2005

WARNE(D) 600 NOT OUT


I like any other Indian who knows a bit about cricket and spin bowling, did never accept Shane Warne. It was largely borne out of the belief that India alone could produce quality spinners. It was unthinkable for a foreigner and a white man to be able to make the ball do tricks.
The debut of Shane Warne was not auspicious, coming against India where Ravi Shastri and Tendulkar took him apart. Warne returned with figures of one wicket for more than 150 runs. Later, Warne talked about the nightmarish experince of bowling in India. Every batsmen fancied his chances facing Warne. This reinforced the belief that Warne is something of a hype.

The exploits of Warne when dealing with opponents like England, New Zealand, South Africa was something that was attributed to the inability to play spin. However, his performance in Sri Lanka was a revelation in more ways than one. It came against players who had the home advantage and also the supposed prowess in playing spin. Warne had a bagful of wickets coming shortly after his ignominious exit from the World Cup of 2003.That performance helped in a large way to neutralise the Murali effect and Australia triumphed 3-0.

Australia lost the second test of the ongoing Ashes at Edgbaston but Warne bowled beautifully in the second innings. The ball to dismiss Andrew Strauss was a gem. The 'ball of the century' stuff may be somewhat overhyped but there is no doubting the ability of the man. He also took his team to an unlikely win with a sterling contribution with the bat. Warne is a good slip fielder who held his ground in the midst of outstanding slipmen like Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh.

I heartily congratulate Warne on being the first bowler to claim 600 wickets in test matches. It is good to see a bowler with a clean and undisputed action climb up the summit. Looking forward to more zooters etc.

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