The Warne genius – untouched by time

He might have got wickets simply because he was 'Shane Warne' - but then, there haven't been too many, or even one other, quite like Shane Warne.

updated: September 30, 2013 14:38 IST
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He was dapper. This blond-haired guy with a ball in his hand and neatly combed hair. He could have walked into that indoor net off the street on his way to a wine-tasting event. Ironed white trousers, t-shirt hanging neat over his frame. Hanging, but not in that loose-fitting way that sportsmen on the field of play seem to have - this was ordered fashion that spoke of understated style. On a frame that was disconcertingly trim.

This was not how the memory of Shane Warne with a red cherry in hand was supposed to be when there were stumps, English batsmen and a cricket pitch at hand. His hair had to be ruffled. There had to be some brown stains on clothing. There had to be a tongue hanging out somewhere. And he had to look like the version who inspired the typically Australian-wit laden banner of "It ain't over till the fat man spins".

And five minutes into a net session during the fourth Ashes Test, where Warne was holding a spin "masterclass" for Sky Sports, bowling to Nasser Hussain and Andrew Strauss, you realised that the accoutrements to Warne holding a cricket ball in hand didn't matter. At a net session or an international match, retired or active, 25-year-old or a month short of his 44th birthday, with that red ball in hand, you were guaranteed wizardry.

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