Australian legend Shane Warne was not only one of the greatest cricketers ever to play the game but he can also probably be credited with saving the art of spin bowling in a sport that had become dominated by relentless pace.
The Australian’s extraordinary career figures tell the first half of the story and the proliferation of leg-spin bowlers at the sharp end of the attack in almost every form of the game now, illustrates the second.
Warne died at the age of 52 from a suspected heart attack on Friday, hours after tweeting his love to the family of another Australian test legend, wicket-keeper Rod Marsh, who died earlier in the day.
Warne wrote that Marsh was “an inspiration to so many young boys and girls” – an epitaph that the peerless leg spinner deserves 10-times over.
Warne finished his career with 708 wickets in 145 tests, a record that was later broken by Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800), which included a career-best of 8-71 against England at the Gabba. He also picked up 293 ODI wickets and won the World Cup with Australia in 1999 where he was man of the match.