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Shane Warne

Shane Keith Warne (born 13 September 1969) is a former Australian international cricketer who is widely regarded as one of the finest leg spin bowlers in the history of cricket. While his career statistics suggest that, despite his aggregate performances, phenomenal popularity and notoriety, he was perhaps less effective and destructive than the interbellum Australian leg-spinners Bill O'Reilly and Clarrie Grimmett, his durability and impact on the modern game assure his place alongside them in cricket's pantheon. Indeed, in 2000, he was selected by a panel of cricket experts as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, the only specialist bowler selected in the quintet.

Warne played his first Test match in 1992, and his 708 wickets was the record for the most wickets taken by any bowler in Test cricket, until it was broken by Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan on December 3, 2007. He took over 1000 international wickets (in Tests and One-Day Internationals)—he was the second bowler to reach this milestone after Muttiah Muralitharan. A useful lower-order batsman, Warne also scored over 3000 Test runs, and he holds the record for most Test runs without a century. His career was plagued by scandals off the field; these included a ban from cricket for testing positive for a prohibited substance, and charges of bringing the game into disrepute.

As well as Australia, he also played Australian domestic cricket for his home state of Victoria, and English domestic cricket for Hampshire. He was captain of Hampshire for three seasons, from 2005 to 2007. In March 2008, Warne signed to play in the Indian Premier League for the Jaipur team, Rajasthan Royals in the first edition of the tournament, where he played the roles of both captain and coach. He led his team to victory against the Chennai Super Kings in a cliffhanger final match on June 1, 2008.

He retired from international cricket in January 2007, at the end of Australia's 5-0 Ashes series victory over England. Two other players integral to the Australian team of recent years, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer, also retired from Tests on the same day which led some, including the Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, to declare it the "end of an era".

Following his retirement from international cricket, Warne played a full season at Hampshire in 2007. He had been scheduled to appear in the 2008 English cricket season, but in late March 2008 he announced his retirement from playing first-class cricket in order to be able to spend more time pursuing interests outside of cricket.

Career

Warne made his first-class cricket debut on 15 February 1991, taking 0/61 and 1/41 for Victoria against Western Australia at the Junction Oval in Melbourne. He was then selected for the Australia B team which toured Zimbabwe in September 1991. His best performance was 7/52 in a four-day match. Upon returning to Australia, Warne took 3/14 and 4/42 for Australia A against the West Indies in December 1991. The incumbent spinner in the Australian Test Team, Peter Taylor, had taken only one wicket in the first two tests, so Warne was brought into the team for the Third Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground a week later.

He had an undistinguished Test debut, taking 1/150 (Ravi Shastri caught by Dean Jones for 206) off 45 overs, and recorded figures of 1/228 in his first Test series. His poor return continued in the first innings against Sri Lanka at Colombo in the next year, in which he recorded 0/107. However, a spell of 3/11 in the second innings contributed to a remarkable Australian win and arguably saved his Test place. He solidified this when he took 7/52 in a match-winning performance against the West Indies in the 1992/93 series in Melbourne.

Despite the inauspicious start to his Test career, Warne has since revolutionised cricket thinking with his mastery of leg spin, which many cricket followers had come to regard as a dying art due to its immense difficulty of execution. For all his on-pitch and off-pitch controversies, Warne's place in cricketing posterity has been assured by the fact that he has overturned the domination of cricket by fast bowling that had prevailed for two decades before his debut. Despite the presence of high quality spin bowlers such as Abdul Qadir on the Test scene, Australia's fast bowlers Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson had dominated cricket in the early 1970s; while from 1976 until the early 1990s, the West Indies had lost only one (ill-tempered and controversial) Test series with a bowling attack almost exclusively comprising fast bowlers. In the early 1990s, with the West Indies on the wane, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram of Pakistan were assuming the mantle of the world's most feared bowlers. It was in that context that Warne's tormenting of batsmen became so significant rather than his actual statistics. His humiliation of Gatting and subsequent dominance, in particular, of English and South African batsmen, provided a welcome sight for cricket watchers weary of the relentless intimidation by West Indian bowlers of the 1980s and 1990s. His treatment of South African batsman Daryl Cullinan was such that Cullinan was said to have sought the help of a therapist to overcome Warne's psychological hold.

Warne combined the ability to turn the ball prodigiously, even on unhelpful pitches, with unerring accuracy and a wide variation of deliveries (notable among these being the flipper). Gideon Haigh, the Australian journalist, said of Warne upon his retirement: "It was said of Augustus that he found Rome brick and left it marble: the same is true of Warne and spin bowling."

Many of his most spectacular performances have occurred in Ashes series against England, whose players' inexperience against leg spin bowling made them particularly vulnerable. However, with feats like the famous "Gatting Ball", otherwise known as the "Ball of the Century" which spun sharply and bowled a bemused Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes series, most of the credit is Warne's. Conversely, he has struggled against India, particularly the great Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar: his bowling average against India is a poor 47.18 runs per wicket, compared with his overall average of less than 26 .

As well as his Test career Warne has been highly effective bowling in one-day cricket, something few other leg spin bowlers have managed. He also captained Australia on several occasions in One Day Internationals, winning ten matches and losing only one. Warne was instrumental in helping Australia win the 1999 Cricket World Cup in England. His performances in the semifinal against South Africa and in the final against Pakistan, helped him get Man of the Match Awards. Warne had intended to retire from ODI cricket at the end of the 2003 World Cup: as it transpired, his last game for Australia was in January 2003. However, he did appear for the ICC World XI for the Tsunami benefit match in 2005.

In March 2004, Warne became the second cricketer after Courtney Walsh of the West Indies to take 500 Test wickets. He broke the record for most career wickets in Test cricket on 15 October 2004 during the Second Test against India at Chennai, overtaking his great spin bowling rival, Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka. On 11 August 2005 at Old Trafford, in the Third Ashes Test, he became the first bowler in history to take 600 Test wickets. In 2005, Warne also broke the record for the number of wickets in a calendar year, with 96 wickets. His ferocious competitiveness was a feature of the 2005 Ashes series, when he took 40 wickets at an average of 19.92 and scored 249 runs.

Warne is also noted for his exuberant (and sometimes effective) lower-order batting, once famously being dismissed for 99 with a reckless shot on what was later shown to be a no ball. In fact, of all Test cricketers Warne has scored the most Test runs without having scored a century, with two scores in the nineties being his best efforts. Warne is also third overall in the most international test ducks. In 2006 Warne and Glenn McGrath reportedly lost a bet of which bowler would be the first to get a Test century with fellow Australian bowler Jason Gillespie after Gillespie scored a record double-century as a nightwatchman against Bangladesh.

Warne is also a brilliant slip fielder. He has performed well in this role and is currently seventh in the list of most catches as a fielder in test cricket.

Warne began the 2006/2007 Ashes campaign with an indifferent test in Brisbane and a poor first innings showing — his worst figures ever, in fact — at Adelaide. However, his second innings heroics, including bowling Kevin Pietersen around the legs, triggered England's fifth-day collapse and Australia's historic victory. Warne again bowled well in the second innings in the third Test, and took the final wicket of Monty Panesar as Australia regained the Ashes.

Just days after these events, on 21 December 2006 Warne announced his retirement, which came into effect after the fifth Ashes Test match at the SCG. (He will honour his contract with Hampshire but will play no further competitive cricket within or for Australia). He became the first cricketer to reach the 700-wicket milestone in his second last test, on Boxing Day 2006. Warne said that it was his intention to "go out on top," adding that he might have retired after the 2005 Ashes series, had Australia won. Commentators Tony Greig and Mike Gatting were interviewed immediately after this announcement and both expressed surprise and sadness on hearing this news which was by now spinning around the world. Warne achieved his 700th test wicket at 3.18pm on 26 December 2006 (AEST) by bowling English batsman Andrew Strauss out at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, in what was almost certainly his final appearance at the ground. This was the first occasion that a player had taken 700 career wickets. The wicket was described as a "classic Warne dismissal" to which the crowd of 89,155 gave a standing ovation.

In the last match of the 2006 Ashes Series at the SCG, Sydney spectators bade him farewell in his very last Test match, just as they witnessed his Test debut on 2 January 1992. Thus, a career spanning exactly 15 years ended where it all began.

In this final Test, Warne ended England's first innings by trapping Monty Panesar lbw for a duck and his 1000th total international wicket. His final Test wicket was the key wicket of Andrew Flintoff, stumped by Adam Gilchrist near the end of Day 3.

Controversies

Despite nearly universal recognition of Warne's talents, his reputation with fans and cricket authorities is mixed, owing to a succession of intemperate actions in both his professional and his private life.

Bookmakers

In September 1994 during the Singer World Series in Sri Lanka, an Indian introduced himself to Mark Waugh as 'John' a bookmaker who wanted information about games during the current series and the Australian summer. The following evening Waugh introduced John to Warne who received A$5000 'no strings attached'. John contacted Warne by telephone three times during the Ashes series in 1994/95. Warne supplied John with information on the composition of the team and the likely state of the pitch for certain matches.

In February 1995 Ian McDonald, the Team Manager had questioned both Warne and Waugh after being tipped off by a journalist. Both made admissions to McDonald, Alan Crompton (the chairman of ACB) and Graham Halbish (the CEO of the ACB) and both were fined — Warne A$8,000 and Waugh A$10,000.

Having been kept secret by the ACB (although they had informed the ICC), it was only revealed in December 1998 when the Sydney Morning Herald reported that both were involved in passing information to bookmaker.

A report by Rob O'Regan QC described the fines as "inadequate" and suggested that a "suspension for a significant time" was more appropriate. Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka all called for life bans but the ICC couldn't act as "you can't be tried twice for the same crime. Former Australian cricketer Neil Harvey also called for bans.

Charged with bringing the game into disrepute

Warne was charged with bringing the game into disrepute in 1999 following his comments about the Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga.

Positive test for banned substance

In February 2003, just prior to the start of the 2003 Cricket World Cup, Warne was sent home after a drug test during the one-day series in Australia earlier in the year returned a positive result for a banned diuretic.

Warne initially claimed that he took only one of what he called a "fluid tablet" – the prescription drug Moduretic — in an attempt to improve his appearance.

In the end, the panel found Warne guilty of breaching the ACB's drug code, and imposed a one-year ban. It was further revealed, and confirmed by Warne in a subsequent television interview, that he had actually taken two of the pills. The substance he took is banned because it can be used to mask the presence of other drugs. The Judge in the case found both Shane Warne and his mother's testimony to be "unreliable".

At the time, Warne took the view that the ban imposed would lengthen his Test playing career. The leniency of the one year ban was criticised by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) although WADA, in turn, was criticised by Warne for interfering in the matter.

During his suspension, he considered working for the St Kilda Australian rules football club as an assistant coach, before the Australian Football League told the club that it would be inappropriate to have somebody suspended for a drug offence advising its players. He also received invitations to play in various celebrity "park cricket" teams, and the newly renamed Cricket Australia reversed its decision on whether Warne, as a contracted player, should be allowed to play in such matches. He also became a TV commentator for Channel 9 in Australia during this time.

Personal life

Warne's mother was born in Germany. Warne was born in Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria. He has three children — Brooke, Summer and Jackson with his ex-wife Simone Callahan (born 1970).

Since retirement, Warne has been doing "work for the Shane Warne Foundation... [which] assists seriously ill and underprivileged children." Since launching in 2004, the charity has distributed £400,000; Warne is organising a poker tournament and a breakfast and "by the end of our summer, we hope to have raised £1.5million.

Marital infidelities

Warne's private life has been beset by scandals and subjected to scrutiny by British tabloid newspapers. He came under criticism for text messaging a woman whilst on tour in South Africa, accused of sending lewd and harassing messages. However, the woman who made the claims (Helen Cohen Alon) was subsequently charged with extortion in her own country.

Further allegations of Warne having extramarital affairs broke in 2005 as Australia began its tour of England in preparation for The Ashes. On 25 June 2005, Warne and his wife Simone Callahan announced that they had decided to separate.

On 7 May 2006, the News of the World tabloid newspaper published pictures of Warne standing in his underwear with a pair of 25-year-old models, as well as explicit text messages allegedly from Warne.

On 1 April 2007, Warne and his wife were reported to be getting back together. However, in September 2007, Simone returned to Australia from England after her husband had accidentally sent a text message meant for another woman to her phone.

Endorsements and off-field earnings

While Warne's highly publicised off-field indiscretions have cost him several corporate endorsements and offers, his enduring popularity has attracted the attention of several savvy marketers who see him as the perfect fit.

On 13 July 2005, Australia's Nine Network announced it would not renew Warne's commentating contract, worth around AU$300,000 annually. Warne had previously been seen as a future member of the Nine cricket commentary team, and had done commentary work during his one-year ban from cricket in 2003. Three and a half months later however, Shane Warne went on to sign a lucrative multi-year sponsorship deal with Asia-Pacific’s largest telephone audio production company, Messages On Hold The irony of Warne promoting On Hold phone messages after weathering the ignominy of several SMS/text messaging scandals was not lost on the spin bowler. Several media sources, and even Messages On Hold’s own promotional materials quote him as saying, “Trust me with this recommendation — I know a thing or two about spin.

Warne also does promotional work for hair-loss-recovery company Advanced Hair This matter was investigated by the British Advertising Standards Authority in relation to an illegal celebrity endorsement of medical services. In response to the investigation Warne stated "There's only one thing that worries me, and that's hair loss."

Warne has also endorsed the Codemaster video games Shane Warne Cricket and Shane Warne Cricket '99. Outside Australia these were known as Brian Lara Cricket and Brian Lara Cricket '99.

Warne took over from Ally McCoist as a team captain on the BBC television sports quiz A Question of Sport in September 2007.

For the 2007/8 Australian cricket series, Warne has taken over as VB spokesperson from David Boon. Warne will also have a talking figurine as part of the new promotion taking over from the "Talking Boony" doll.Boonanza promotion

In January 2008, Warne signed a two year agreement with 888 Poker (owned by 888 Holdings PLC, a public listed company in London) to represent them at poker events around the world including the Aussie Millions, World Series of Poker and the 888 UK Poker Open.

Cars

Warne has indulged his passion for cars. He has owned two Ferraris: he purchased a 355 Spider in 1996 and, in 2001, he bought a 360 Spider in titanium, with red interior. At that time he had six cars — the Ferrari, two Mercedes four-wheel drives, two BMWs and a Holden VK Commodore. However, after his separation he sold his collection, and now owns a BMW X5 in Australia, and rents a Mercedes E55 AMG in England.

Return

Warne has hinted on a return to Test cricket with a view to competing in the 2009 Ashes series in England claiming he will "weigh up the options". He said he retired in order to spend more time with his young family but claims he still has the ability to perform at the highest level: "If I could just turn up and play Test cricket that would be cool. I would definitely consider that. At this stage it is a fairytale."

Recognition

Test wicket milestones

Milestone Batsman Country How Out Venue Year
1 Ravi Shastri India Caught DM Jones Sydney 1991/92
50 Nasser Hussain England Caught DC Boon Nottingham 1993
100 Brian McMillan South Africa LBW Adelaide 1993/94
150 Alec Stewart England Caught and Bowled Melbourne 1994/95
200 Chaminda Vaas Sri Lanka Caught IA Healy Perth 1995/96
250 Alec Stewart England Bowled Manchester 1997
300 Jacques Kallis South Africa Bowled Sydney 1997/98
350 Hrishikesh Kanitkar India LBW Melbourne 1999/2000
400 Alec Stewart England Caught AC Gilchrist The Oval 2001
450 Ashwell Prince South Africa Caught ME Waugh Durban 2002
500 Hashan Tillakaratne Sri Lanka Caught A Symonds Galle 2004
550 James Franklin New Zealand LBW Adelaide 2004/05
600 Marcus Trescothick England Caught AC Gilchrist Manchester 2005
650 Ashwell Prince South Africa LBW Perth 2005/06
700 Andrew Strauss England Bowled Melbourne 2006/07
708 Andrew Flintoff England Stumped AC Gilchrist Sydney 2006/07

Books

As author or co-author

  • Shane Warne: My Official Illustrated Career by Richie Benaud and Shane Warne (Cassell, 2006) ISBN
  • ''Shane Warne: My Autobiography (Coronet Books, 2002) ISBN ((Audiobook)Audio Cassette: Hodder & Stoughton Audio Books, 2001 ISBN) (Hardcover: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2001 ISBN)
  • The Complete Shane Warne by Ken Piesse (Viking, 2001) ISBN
  • Shane Warne: My own story by Shane Warne and Mark Ray (Bookman Projects, 1997) ISBN

Biographies

  • Spun Out: Shane Warne the Unauthorised Biography of a Cricketing Genius by Paul Barry (Bantam Press, 2006) ISBN
  • Shane Warne: Portrait of a Flawed Genius by Simon Wilde (John Murray, 2007 ISBN)

References

See also

External links

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