Shane Warne, preternatural genius who played with a carefree spirit | Andy Bull

His career statistics are extraordinary but he will be best remembered for playing the game with joy and panacheThe first thing I did was watch that clip. Shut your eyes and you can probably picture it. Shane Warne’s first ball in the Ashes, his choppy peroxide blond hair ruffling in the wind, the zinc cream smeared across his lips and the tip of his nose, his top button undone, his collar turned up, a flash of the gold chain bouncing around his neck. Seven steps, then he sweeps his arm over, sends the ball flying. It dips, hits the pitch, zips, spins the width of Mike Gatting, clips the off-stump. Bowled him! Warne roars, Gatting baffled, stares back down the pitch trying to figure out what’s just happened, umpire Dickie Bird tries to hide the ghost of a smile that’s crept across his face.It was some introduction. And it turned into some story, too. Continue reading...

Shane Warne, preternatural genius who played with a carefree spirit | Andy Bull

His career statistics are extraordinary but he will be best remembered for playing the game with joy and panache

The first thing I did was watch that clip. Shut your eyes and you can probably picture it. Shane Warne’s first ball in the Ashes, his choppy peroxide blond hair ruffling in the wind, the zinc cream smeared across his lips and the tip of his nose, his top button undone, his collar turned up, a flash of the gold chain bouncing around his neck. Seven steps, then he sweeps his arm over, sends the ball flying. It dips, hits the pitch, zips, spins the width of Mike Gatting, clips the off-stump. Bowled him! Warne roars, Gatting baffled, stares back down the pitch trying to figure out what’s just happened, umpire Dickie Bird tries to hide the ghost of a smile that’s crept across his face.

It was some introduction. And it turned into some story, too.

Continue reading...