New Delhi, June 4
Spin wizard Shane Warne performed one of the greatest deliveries with the ball on June 4, 1993, as he bowled against Mike Gatting during the Ashes series in Manchester. Warne's first ball in his Ashes career was hailed as 'the ball of the century'.
As per ESPN Cricinfo, Indian leg spinner Piyush Chawla reflected on the impact of that delivery by Warne. Recalling the first time he saw the delivery Chawal said, " I was 14-15 years old and I'd heard so much about that particular delivery, so I went on YouTube to see it."
It was June 4, 1993, at England's Old Trafford. Warne, who had taken just 31 wickets in 11 Test matches up to that point, was preparing to deliver his first ball on English soil. Mike Gatting, a stocky Middlesex batter and a part-time spinner, was fronting up to the Victorian.
What followed, and a glut of bowling records thereafter, went a long way in shaping the legacy of the man, who also went by the nickname 'Spin King'. Warne sent down a 'ripper' that castled Gatting around his legs, leaving him dazed and bemused. Dubbed the 'Ball of the Century', that delivery has since been the stuff of folklore in the much-loved and followed sport.
"As a legspinner, it was a dream ball, the way it drifted in the air, pitched on leg stump and then hit off stump, and Mike Gatting, one of the better players of spin bowling, he also had no clue about it. So that was something really amazing to watch. It is very difficult to get those kind of revs on the ball, like he got."
"His ball used to pitch somewhere around sixth, seventh stump on the leg side; mine is around fifth stump. Both our bowling actions were different, so it was very difficult to copy him." Chawla was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
Chawla further discussed the reason which made the delivery so special, "When the legspinner pitches on or outside leg stump, the ball generally drifts in onto the legs of the batter and then it spins away. But that ball drifted a long way, pitched almost on sixth or seventh stump outside the leg stump and from there,"
"Spinning such a long way before hitting the top of off - you can say it was something like a miracle. The most important thing for any spinner is to get dip, drift and revs. We all knew Warnie had strong wrists and broad shoulders, and because of that he got such a good revs."
"The other important aspect of spin bowling is the hip drive his hip drive was so high, it was almost over the stumps, which is very rare to find. The combination of all those things and the effort he put into the ball allowed him to get that kind drift, dip and spin." He added.
"Hundred per cent. It is a beautiful sight to see the ball pitching on leg stump and squaring up the batter - it is a drama ball for a legspinner." Chawla stated when asked if the delivery stands the test of time."
Chawla went on to discuss the influence of the delivery on the rise of leg spin, "Legspin is one of the most difficult arts in cricket. Getting that rhythm right daily, bowling at the same spot. The way Shane Warne used to bowl, it was magical."
"Every legspinner wanted to be like him. But Warnie was really special the kind of art he had in his hands, I don't think many bowlers are gifted with that."
"Andrew Strauss at Edgbaston in 2005. The ball pitched in the rough and Strauss tried to get his pad in the way but it went through and hit the wicket. People say if you bowl in the rough, it will spin, but getting that kind of spin even from the rough is very difficult." Chawla on another Warne moment or delivery that stood out for him."
"I must have watched that ball around 100 times. The most important thing for a legspinner is the pace, because if you don't have that pace behind that ball, it's very difficult to beat the batter - then he can adjust. Here, Strauss was trying to put his pad in the way to defend, but he had no clue how it spun."
"It was no fault of Strauss. That ball was so special that I think anyone would have got out on that particular delivery." Chawla added.
"No. Because it doesn't come that easy. Legspin is an attacking option. The joy of getting a wicket by defeating the batter with drift, dip, guile is something else." Chawla on if there's a better feeling than sending down the perfect leg break.