New Delhi, June 4
Former Indian head coach and cricketer Anil Kumble revealed that spin bowlers used to look upto late iconic Australian spinner Shane Warne.
'On This Day' Shane Warne produced the ball of the century against England in 1993, the Australian dismissed English batter Mike Gatting with a delivery that turned the mentality of people about spin bowling.
In an era where pace bowlers ruled the world of cricket, a 23-year-old bowler bowled a delivery that landed wide of leg but spun so much that it knocked over the off-stump of Mike Gatting. The batter stood at the crease in disbelief and it took him a few seconds to process what had actually happened to him.
While remembering that delivery, Kumble a spinner who has been looked at as one of the greatest spinners to feature in the diverse history of cricket. The Indian team has always focused on their spinners since the early days, while the likes of Australia and England have dwelled on their natural pacers. But after Warne's arrival, things started to change. While speaking to ESPNcricinfo Kumble said, "We all sort of looked up to someone like Warnie. I had various conversations with him and Muthiah Muralidaran in that era, and we had conversations with Mushtaq Ahmed as well. India has always had a focus on spin right from the golden era, before I played."
"But I don't think teams like Australia or England have had that kind of spin dominance, and Warne brought that about. He had a major influence, and for me as a fellow legspinner, it was a learning as well. I watched Warnie bowl whenever I had the opportunity," Kumble said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
Former Pakistan Mushtaq Ahmed believes that Warne's single delivery changed the way people used to think about legspinners.
"That ball changed the way people thought about legspinners in Tests and one-day cricket. Teams started looking for legspinners. When I was coaching in England, we used to talk about getting a legspinner from grassroots or county, that even a half-good legspinner had a chance," Mushtaq said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
But Australian cricketer Alana King believes that the change in perception that came after Warne's delivery was not only limited to leg spinners it changed the whole idea about spin bowling.
"Don't think it was just leg-spin, it was spin bowling in general. Everyone wanted to become Warnie, or pick up some form of spin because of how much fun it was. When you can do stuff like that, be so crafty with the ball - he made it fun again. Legspin was kind of losing its value in the game and all of a sudden Warnie comes into the game and you were like, Yeah, I want to be like him, that looks fun" and it's exactly the reason I picked up the art of leg-spin. And I think lots of leggies around the world have drawn inspiration from him," King said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
Warne passed away on March 4 last year after a suspected heart attack while vacationing in Thailand. One of the most loved and followed cricketers in history, the Victorian single-handedly reinvented the art of leg-spin when he burst onto the international scene in the early 1990s.
And, by the time he bid adieu to the sport in 2007, Warne had become the first bowler to collect 700 Test wickets. Warne finished his international career with 708 Test wickets and a further 293 in One-Day Internationals, placing him second on the list of all-time international wicket-takers behind his great friend and rival Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka at 1,347.
Warne, known to his Baggy Green mates as 'Warnie', also captained Australia in 11 One-Day Internationals, winning 10 and losing just once.