Shane Warne

Shane Keith Warne (born 13 September 1969) is an Australian cricket commentator and former international cricketer who captained the Australian national team in One Day Internationals (ODI). Widely regarded as one of the greatest bowlers in the history of the game,[1] Warne was named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in the 1994 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.[2] He was the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World in 1997 (Notional Winner).[3] He was banned from the sport in 2003 for testing positive for a prohibited substance. Following the ban, he was named Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World for the year 2004 in the 2005 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.[4] In 2000, he was selected by a panel of cricket experts as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, the only specialist bowler selected in the quintet and the only one still playing at the time. He officially retired from all formats of cricket in July 2013.[5]

Shane Warne
Warne at the Melbourne launch of the 2015 Cricket World Cup in February 2015
Personal information
Full nameShane Keith Warne
Born (1969-09-13) 13 September 1969
Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria, Australia
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
BowlingRight-arm leg break
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 350)2 January 1992 v India
Last Test2 January 2007 v England
ODI debut (cap 110)24 March 1993 v New Zealand
Last ODI10 January 2005 v Asia XI
Domestic team information
1990–2007Victoria (squad no. 23)
2000–2007Hampshire (squad no. 23)
2008–2011Rajasthan Royals (squad no. 23)
2011–2013Melbourne Stars (squad no. 23)
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 145 194 301 311
Runs scored 3,154 1,018 6,919 1,879
Batting average 17.32 13.05 19.43 11.81
100s/50s 0/12 0/1 2/26 0/1
Top score 99 55 107* 55
Balls bowled 40,704 10,642 74,830 16,419
Wickets 708 293 1,319 473
Bowling average 25.41 25.73 26.11 24.61
5 wickets in innings 37 1 69 3
10 wickets in match 10 0 12 0
Best bowling 8/71 5/33 8/71 6/42
Catches/stumpings 125/– 80/– 264/– 126/–
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 29 March 2008

As well as playing internationally, Warne played domestic cricket for his home state of Victoria and English domestic cricket for Hampshire. He was captain of Hampshire for three seasons from 2005 to 2007. Warne played his first Test match in 1992 and took over 1,000 international wickets (in Tests and One-Day Internationals), second to this milestone after Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan. Warne's 708 Test wickets was the record for the most wickets taken by any bowler in Test cricket, until it was broken by Muralitharan on 3 December 2007.[6] A useful lower-order batsman, Warne is also the only player to have scored more than 3,000 Test runs without a career century.[7] His career was plagued by scandals off the field, including a ban from cricket for testing positive for a prohibited substance, charges of bringing the game into disrepute by accepting money from bookmakers and sexual indiscretions.

He retired from international cricket in January 2007, at the end of Australia's 5–0 Ashes series victory over England. Three other players integral to the Australian team at the time- Glenn McGrath, Damien Martyn and Justin Langer also retired from Tests at the same time which led some, including the Australian captain Ricky Ponting; to declare it the "end of an era".[8]

He was named as a bowler in Australia's "greatest ever ODI team."[9] In a fan poll conducted by the CA in 2017, he was named in the country's best Ashes XI in the last 40 years.[10] To mark 150 years of the Cricketers' Almanack, Wisden named him in an all-time Test World XI.[11]

Following his retirement from international cricket, Warne played a full season at Hampshire in 2007. He had been scheduled to appear in the 2008 English cricket season, but in late March 2008 he announced his retirement from playing first-class cricket in order to be able to "spend more time pursuing interests outside of cricket".[12] He played in the first four seasons (2008-2011) of the Indian Premier League for the Rajasthan Royals, where he played the roles of both captain and coach. He led his team to victory against the Chennai Super Kings in the final of the 2008 season. In February 2018, the Rajasthan Royals appointed Warne as their Team Mentor for the IPL 2018.[13]

In 2013, Warne was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.[14] In 2012, he was also inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame by the CA.[15]

Youth, football and early cricket career

Shane Warne was born to German-born Bridgette (Brigitte)[16][17] and Keith Warne on 13 September 1969 in Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria, an outer suburb of Melbourne. Warne attended Hampton High School from Grades 7–9, after which he was offered a sports scholarship to attend Mentone Grammar. Warne spent his final three years of school at Mentone. His first representative honours came when in 1983-84 season he represented University of Melbourne Cricket Club in the then Victorian Cricket Association under 16 Dowling Shield competition. He bowled a mixture of leg-spin and off-spin and was a handy lower order batsman.

The following season he joined the St Kilda Cricket Club near his home suburb of Black Rock. He started in the lower elevens and over a number of seasons progressed to the first eleven. During the cricket offseason in 1987 Warne played five games of Australian rules football for the St Kilda Football Club's under 19 team.

In 1988, Warne once again played for the St Kilda Football Club's under 19 team before being upgraded to the reserves team, one step below professional level. Following the 1988 Victorian Football League season Warne was delisted by St Kilda and began to focus solely on cricket. He was later chosen to train at the AIS Australian Cricket Academy in 1990 in Adelaide.[18]

Warne joined English team Accrington Cricket Club in 1991. He enjoyed a good season with the ball, taking 73 wickets at 15.4 each, but scored only 330 runs at an average of 15. The committee at Accrington Cricket Club decided not to re-engage him for the 1992 Lancashire League season as he was not seen to be good enough.

Warne made his first-class cricket debut on 15 February 1991, taking 0/61 and 1/41 for Victoria against Western Australia at the Junction Oval in Melbourne. He was then selected for the Australia B team which toured Zimbabwe in September 1991.

In the second tour match at Harare Sports Club, Warne recorded his first first-class haul of five wickets or more in an innings when he took 7/49 in the second innings, helping Australia B to a nine-wicket win.[19]

Upon returning to Australia, Warne took 3/14 and 4/42 for Australia A against a touring West Indian side in December 1991. The incumbent spinner in the Australian Test team, Peter Taylor, had taken only one wicket in the first two tests, so Warne was brought into the team for the third Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground a week later.

International career

Early international career (1992–1993)

Warne had played in just seven first-class matches before making his debut at Test level for Australia.[20] He had an undistinguished Test debut when called into the Australian team in January 1992 for a Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground.[20] He took 1/150 (Ravi Shastri caught by Dean Jones for 206) off 45 overs. He took 0/78 in the fourth Test in Adelaide, recording overall figures of 1/228 for the series, and was dropped for the fifth Test on the pace-friendly WACA Ground in Perth. His poor form continued in the first innings against Sri Lanka at Colombo, in which he recorded 0/107. However, on 22 August 1992, he took the last three Sri Lankan wickets without conceding a run in the second innings precipitating a second innings collapse and contributing to a remarkable 16-run Australian win. Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga commented in an interview that, 'a bowler with Test average of more than 300 came and snatched the victory from our hands'.

However, Warne's performances in the last two Tests in Sri Lanka were not to the satisfaction of the selectors, and he was dropped for the First Test against the West Indies in the 1992–93 Australian season. Greg Matthews played in Warne's place and despite Australia being in a strong position on the final day, was unable to dismiss the tourists on a turning surface. Warne was thus recalled for the Second Test in Melbourne, a Boxing Day Test, where he took 7/52 in a match-winning performance in the second innings.[21]

Path to 300 Test wickets (1993–1999)

In 1993, Warne was selected for Australia's Ashes tour of England. He was the leading wicket taker for the six-Test series, with 34.[22] His first ball of the series was written into the history books as the "Ball of the Century", bowling the experienced English batsman Mike Gatting with a ball that turned from well outside leg stump to clip the off bail.[23] He took 71 Test wickets in 1993, then a record for a spin bowler in a calendar year.[24] New Zealand batsmen contributed significantly to his tally. He took 17 wickets in Australia's tour of New Zealand early in the year, tying Danny Morrison as the top wicket-taker for the series with 17. When New Zealand toured Australia for three Tests in November and December, Warne took 18 more and was named player of the series.[25][26][27]

Warne featured in South Africa's tour of Australia in 1993–94 and Australia's return tour in March 1994. In the second Test of South Africa's tour, held at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Warne took ten wickets in a Test for the first time in his career. His 7/56 in the first innings and 5/72 in the second was not enough to secure victory for Australia; Warne was part of an Australian batting collapse on the final day of the Test that handed South Africa the win.[28]

Australia sought to retain The Ashes when England toured for a five Test series in 1994–95. Warne took a career-best 8/71 in the second innings of the first Test at the Gabba,[29] before going on to take 27 wickets in the five-Test series.[30] In the Second Test, a Boxing Day Test at Warne's home ground, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, he took his first and only Test hat-trick, dismissing tail-enders Phil DeFreitas, Darren Gough and Devon Malcolm in successive balls, the last of which was caught by David Boon. He also grabbed his 150th test wicket, a caught-and-bowled off Alec Stewart. However, it was with the bat that Warne ultimately secured The Ashes for Australia. In the Third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, he and fellow tail-ender Tim May survived the final 19 overs on the fifth day in fading light to secure a draw and a 2–0 series lead that meant Australia would retain The Ashes regardless of the result of the fourth and fifth Tests.[31] Later in 1995, he toured the West Indies, taking 15 wickets over four Tests as Australia defeated the West Indies in a Test series for the first time in almost 20 years.[32]

In the summer of 1995–96, Australia played home series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He took 11 wickets in the first Test against Pakistan but broke his toe in the second. Selectors included him in the squad for the third Test just days later to give him the chance to prove his fitness; he did so by taking four wickets in Pakistan's first innings and another four in their second to be named the player of the series.[33][34]

Warne was to be a key member of Australia's squad for the 1996 World Cup, held in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Australia qualified for the final, with Warne having taken 12 wickets, including a man-of-the-match 4/36 in the semi-final against the West Indies.[35] Ahead of the final against Sri Lanka, Australian captain Mark Taylor publicly declared that Warne was not "vital" to his team, emphasising that Warne alone could not win the World Cup.[36] Warne conceded 58 runs for no wickets in the final; Australia lost the match to first-time champions Sri Lanka.[37]

The West Indies toured Australia for a five-Test series in the summer of 1996–97. Warne took 22 wickets in the series, and a further 11 in Australia's three-Test tour of South Africa early in 1997.[38] In the northern summer, Warne returned to England with the Australian team to attempt to retain The Ashes. After struggling for form early in the tour, Warne took 24 wickets at an average of 24.04 as Australia won the six-Test series 3–2.[39][40]

The following Australian summer (1997–98) saw a continued flow of wickets for Warne. He picked up 19 in New Zealand's three-Test series in Australia, before taking 20 wickets in three Tests against South Africa.[38] In the second of those three, he took five wickets in the first innings and six in the second, while becoming the second Australian after Dennis Lillee to take 300 Test wickets.[41][42] At the beginning of the summer, the Australian media had criticised Warne for his weight; now, The Australian wrote that he was one of Australia's three most "influential" cricketers (with Donald Bradman and Dennis Lillee).[43] Journalist and former English cricketer Derek Pringle observed as Warne passed the 300 Test wicket mark at the age of 28: "we are in the presence of true greatness and not some pretender to the great figures in the game's history."[44]

Later in 1998, Warne was a member of Australia's touring squad of India. Finding Indian food not to his liking, he had spaghetti and baked beans flown in from Australia. With Australia's two top pace bowlers Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie missing the tour due to injury, Warne shouldered more of the bowling burden. He took 10 wickets, but conceding 54 runs each, going for 0/147 in India's only innings of the second and series-winning Test in Calcutta. Warne's dismissal of Rahul Dravid in the first inning of the final test at Bangalore took him past Lance Gibbs' tally of 309 wickets making him the most successful spinner in Test Cricket. Australia lost the series, breaking a run of nine Test series victories.[45][46]

Warne did not play international cricket again until the fifth Test of the Ashes series in Australia in January 1999, suffering a shoulder injury. He missed Australia's tour of Pakistan and the first four Ashes Tests.[47] At the time, he was also at the centre of the John the bookmaker controversy. Warne's extended absence from the Australian team gave his understudy Stuart MacGill the opportunity to play in his place. MacGill responded by taking 15 wickets in three Tests against Pakistan—the most for any bowler in the series—and another series-high 27 wickets against England. Warne and MacGill bowled in tandem upon Warne's return to the team for the fifth Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where MacGill took 12 wickets and Warne two.[48]

Vice-captaincy of Australia (1999–2000)

Shane Warne's record as captain
 MatchesWonLostDrawnTiedNo resultWin %
ODI [49]1110100090.91%
Date last updated: 2 September 2015

The Ashes series was the last for Australian captain Mark Taylor, who retired. Steve Waugh was appointed as Taylor's replacement, while Warne was promoted to the position of vice-captain.[50] However, he was dropped from the Test team during Australia's tour of the West Indies in early 1999. Warne took just two wickets in the first three Tests of the series, leading to calls from the Australian media for his removal from the team.[51] He was replaced for the final Test by off-spinner Colin Miller. Miller and MacGill took eight wickets between them as Australia won the Test to retain the Frank Worrell Trophy.[52] Warne's form recovered in the ODI series against the West Indies, and he was selected to play in the 1999 World Cup in the United Kingdom.[53] Just before the start of the World Cup, he was given a fine and a two-match suspended ban by the International Cricket Council for telling a newspaper about Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga that: "There is plenty of animosity between Arjuna and myself. I don't like him and I'm not in a club of one".[54]

Australia were seeking to win their first World Cup since 1987. Warne took 12 wickets in the preliminary phases of the tournament as Australia qualified for a semi-final against South Africa. While the match became notable for the dramatic fashion in which it finished, Warne was the man of the match, dismissing four key South African batsmen: Herschelle Gibbs, Gary Kirsten, Hansie Cronje and Jacques Kallis.[55] Australia faced Pakistan in the tournament's Final. Pakistan batted first, and were all out for only 132; Warne took 4/33. Australia chased down the target comfortably to win the World Cup. Warne was the tournament's joint top wicket-taker with Geoff Allott and was named the man of the match in the Final.[56]

After his World Cup performances, Warne was retained as Australia's vice-captain for the tours of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe later in 1999.[52] The following Australian summer, he played in all Tests of the series against Pakistan and India. He reached his highest score with the bat in the first Test against Pakistan in Brisbane, with 86, before matching that score in the first Test against India in Adelaide the following month.[57] Warne's performances in the Brisbane Test were overshadowed by the Joe the Cameraman controversy, in which a jibe about the abilities of Australian bowler Scott Muller was picked up by an on-field microphone during the match. A Channel Nine cameraman subsequently confessed to making the "can't bowl, can't throw" remark that many had believed was made by Warne.[58] Warne took 18 wickets over the six summer Tests and Australia won both series 3–0.[38] He then took another 15 wickets in Australia's 3–0 sweep of New Zealand in March 2000.[59] In the first Test of the series at Eden Park, he surpassed Dennis Lillee (with 355 wickets) as Australia's leading ever wicket-taker.[60]

Warne joined English county side Hampshire in 2000 and played for them during the year's English summer. Reports emerged that during the county season he had repeatedly sent lewd SMS messages to an English nurse. In August 2000, the Australian Cricket Board removed him as Australia's vice-captain, citing his history of indiscretions off the field. The Board's decision was contrary to the wishes of the team's selectors, including captain Steve Waugh. Warne was replaced as vice-captain by Adam Gilchrist.[61] Yet, he was awarded the Men's ODI Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal ceremony by the CA in 2000.[62]

Wickets and injuries (2001–2003)

Warne missed the entire Australian summer of 2000–01 with a finger injury, and found himself battling Stuart MacGill and an in-form Colin Miller to be selected for Australia's tour of India in early 2001.[63] MacGill was ultimately the spinner left out. Warne took 10 wickets over the three-Test series at an average of 50.50. His Indian spin counterpart Harbhajan Singh was the man of the series with 32 wickets at an average of 17.03.[64] Australia lost the series 2–1.[65] In the northern summer of 2001, Warne made his third Ashes tour and took 31 wickets in the five-Test series, which Australia won 4–1.[66] He took three five-wicket hauls in the series.[67] In the final Test at The Oval he took 11 wickets across both innings, including the 400th wicket of his Test career (Alec Stewart). He became the sixth person and the first Australian in the history of cricket to reach the milestone.[68]

In the 2001–02 Australian summer, Australia played home series against New Zealand and against South Africa. Warne took six wickets in three Tests against New Zealand, and in the third Test in Perth made his highest career score with the bat in international cricket. He was caught at mid-wicket off the bowling of Daniel Vettori (off what was later revealed to be a no-ball) while on 99 runs, one run short of a maiden Test century.[69] He took 17 wickets in the three Tests against South Africa—more than any other player—including a five-wicket haul (5/113) in the first innings of the first Test.[70][71] Warne was again the leading wicket-taker when Australia played a three-Test series in South Africa in February and March 2002, with 20 dismissals.[72] In February 2002, Ricky Ponting replaced Steve Waugh as captain of Australia's ODI squad. The elevation of Ponting—five years younger than Warne—appeared to extinguish any prospect of Warne ever being appointed to captain Australia.[73]

Australia played a three-Test series against Pakistan in October 2002, held in neutral Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. Warne, who had lost weight over the previous months, took 27 wickets, was named the player of the series, and was man of the match in the first Test (with 11 wickets) and the third Test (with eight wickets).[74][75][76][77] He returned to Australia for the Ashes series against England, starting in November 2002. He scored a half-century (57) with the bat in the first Test, before taking 11 wickets in the first three Tests of the series. However, in an ODI in December 2002, he suffered a shoulder injury.[78] The injury not only ruled him out of the remainder of the Ashes series, but put him in doubt for the World Cup, due to commence in February 2003.[79]

Ban from cricket (2003)

In February 2003, a day before the start of the World Cup, Warne was sent home after a drug test during a one-day series in Australia returned a positive result for a banned diuretic.[80] Warne claimed that he took only one of what he called a "fluid tablet" – the prescription drug Moduretic – given to him by his mother to improve his appearance.[81] A committee established by the Australian Cricket Board found Warne guilty of breaching the Board's drug code, and imposed a one-year ban from organised cricket.[82]

At the time, Warne took the view that the ban imposed would lengthen his Test playing career, after already having announced that he was going to retire from one-day internationals after the '03 World Cup, although the ban led him to briefly reconsider that decision which he ultimately stuck with.[83] That Warne was allowed to play in charity matches while serving his one-year ban was criticised by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)[84] although WADA, in turn, was criticised by Warne for interfering in the matter.[85]

During his suspension, Warne was hired by the Nine Network, Australia's main free-to-air cricket broadcaster, as a TV commentator.[86] During the winter of 2003, he worked for the St Kilda Australian rules football club in an unpaid consultancy role, after the Australian Football League banned him from holding an official club position because of his drugs ban.[87] He also received invitations to play in various celebrity "park cricket" teams, and the newly renamed Cricket Australia reversed its decision on whether Warne, as a contracted player, should be allowed to play in such matches.

Return to cricket (2004–2006)

Warne returned to competitive cricket following his ban in February 2004.[88] In March, in the first Test of a three-Test series against Sri Lanka in Galle, he became the second cricketer after Courtney Walsh to take 500 Test wickets.[89] Warne took five wickets in each innings of the first and second Tests; a further six wickets in the third Test saw him named the player of the series.[90] He broke the record for most career wickets in Test cricket on 15 October 2004 during the second Test of Australia's series against India at Chennai. His dismissal of Irfan Pathan, caught at slip by Matthew Hayden, saw him overtake his Sri Lankan rival, Muttiah Muralitharan, with 533 wickets. Muralitharan, who was injured at the time, had taken the record himself from Courtney Walsh five months earlier.[91][92] Australia won the series 2–1; it was Australia's first series win in India since 1969. Warne's 14 wickets at an average of 30.07 was a marked improvement on his previous performances in India, when in six Tests he had taken 20 wickets at an average of 52 runs each.[93][94] For his performances in 2004, he was named in the World Test XI by the ICC.

On 11 August 2005 at Old Trafford, in the Third Ashes Test, he became the first bowler in history to take 600 Test wickets, at a time when he separated from his wife. In 2005, Warne broke the record for the number of wickets in a calendar year, with 96 wickets. His ferocious competitiveness was a feature of the 2005 Ashes series, when he took 40 wickets at an average of 19.92 and scored 249 runs. Warne shared player of the series honour with England's Andrew Flintoff. For his performances in 2005, he was named in the World Test XI by the ICC.

International retirement (2006–2007)

Warne began his 2006/07 Ashes campaign with an indifferent Test in Brisbane and a poor first innings showing in Adelaide. However, his second innings performance, including bowling Kevin Pietersen around the legs, triggered England's fifth-day collapse and Australia's victory. Warne again bowled well in the second innings in the third Test, and took the final wicket of Monty Panesar as Australia regained the Ashes.

On 21 December 2006 Warne announced his retirement, which came into effect after the fifth Ashes Test match at the SCG. Warne said that it was his intention to "go out on top", adding that he might have retired after the 2005 Ashes series, had Australia won. In his second-last Test, he took his 700th Test wicket at 3.18 pm on 26 December 2006[95] (AEST) by bowling English batsman Andrew Strauss out at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, in what was almost certainly his final appearance at the ground. This was the first occasion that a player had taken 700 Test wickets. The wicket was described as a "classic Warne dismissal" to which the crowd of 89,155 gave a standing ovation.[96]

Warne's final Test was held at the same venue as his first, 15 years earlier: the Sydney Cricket Ground. Warne ended England's first innings by trapping Monty Panesar lbw for a duck and his 1000th total international wicket. His final Test wicket was that of all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, stumped by Adam Gilchrist.[97] He is one of only two bowlers to have taken 1000+ wickets in international cricket, the other being Muttiah Muralitharan.[98] For his performances in 2006, he was named in the World Test XI by the ICC and Cricinfo.[99] He was also awarded the Men's Test Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal ceremony by the CA in 2006.[62]

Twenty20 career (2008–2013)

After his retirement from international cricket, Warne was signed as the captain for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League 2008, fetching US$450,000 in the pre-season player auction.[100] He led the Royals to victory in the first season of the competition.[101] He continued as captain of the Royals for a further four seasons, the 2011 season being his last with the franchise.[102][103]

Warne was signed as a player for the Melbourne Stars in Australia's inaugural Big Bash League (BBL) in November 2011. The Stars qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament, and Warne took seven wickets in eight matches at an economy rate of 6.74 runs conceded per over.[104]

In 2013 Warne was fined $4500 and banned for one match for using obscene language, making "inappropriate physical contact with a player or official" (Marlon Samuels) and "showing serious dissent at an umpire's decision" during a BBL match against Melbourne Renegades.[105]

In July 2013, he officially retired from all formats confirming that he won't be captaining the Melbourne Stars in BBL.[5]

In July 2014, he captained the Rest of the World side in the Bicentenary Celebration match at Lord's.[106]

Playing style and influence

After an inauspicious start to his Test career, Warne revolutionised cricket thinking with his mastery of leg spin, which many cricket followers had come to regard as a dying art due to its immense difficulty of execution. For all his on-pitch and off-pitch controversies, Warne's place in cricketing posterity has been assured by the fact that he has overturned the domination of cricket by fast bowling that had prevailed for two decades before his debut. Despite the presence of high quality spin bowlers such as the Indian spin quartet of the 1970s or Abdul Qadir on the Test scene, Australia's fast bowlers Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson had dominated cricket in the early 1970s. Furthermore, from 1976 until the early 1990s, the West Indies had lost only one (ill-tempered and controversial) Test series with a bowling attack almost exclusively comprising fast bowlers. In the early 1990s, with the West Indies on the wane, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram of Pakistan were assuming the mantle of the world's most feared bowling combination. It was in that context that Warne's tormenting of batsmen became so significant rather than his actual statistics. His humiliation of Mike Gatting and subsequent dominance, in particular, of English and South African batsmen, provided a welcome sight for cricket watchers weary of the relentless intimidation by West Indian bowlers of the 1980s and 1990s. His treatment of South African batsman Daryll Cullinan was such that Cullinan was said to have sought the help of a therapist to overcome Warne's psychological hold.[107] Warne was able to replicate the delivery against Nasser Hussein in a Master Class in an indoor practice centre.[108]

Warne combined the ability to turn the ball prodigiously, even on unhelpful pitches, with unerring accuracy and a variation of deliveries (notable among these being the flipper) In the latter stages of his career, variation was less evident, despite regular press conferences announcing a "new" delivery for each series he participated in. Gideon Haigh, the Australian journalist, said of Warne upon his retirement: "It was said of Augustus that he found Rome brick and left it marble: the same is true of Warne and spin bowling."[109] Warne does this by having a relaxed 'two finger up, two down grip' with the ball not hitting the top part of the palm.

Where my ability to spin a cricket ball came from, I honestly don't know. I can only think that I was born with it. I have a skill as cricketer and fortunately cricket found me.[110]

– Shane Warne

Many of his most spectacular performances have occurred in Ashes series against England In particular, the famous "Gatting Ball", otherwise known as the "Ball of the Century" which spun sharply and bowled a bemused Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes series. Conversely, he has struggled against India, particularly against Sachin Tendulkar: his bowling average against India is 47.18 runs per wicket, compared with his overall average of 25.[111] In fairness to Warne, other foreign spinners have also struggled against India in recent years; Warne's contemporary off-spinner rival, Muttiah Muralitharan, for instance, has a much higher bowling average (32.61) in Tests played in India than his overall Test figures.[112] He also was hit for the most sixes by the time he retired, but Warne does not like to be hit for single figures, because he has to plan for two batsmen at the same over.[108]

As well as his Test career Warne has been highly effective bowling in one-day cricket, something few other leg spin bowlers have managed. He also captained Australia on several occasions in One Day Internationals, winning ten matches and losing only one. Warne was instrumental in helping Australia win the 1999 Cricket World Cup in England. His performances in the semifinal against South Africa and in the final against Pakistan helped him get Man of the Match Awards. Warne had intended to retire from ODI cricket at the end of the 2003 World Cup: as it transpired, his last game for Australia was in January 2003. However, he did appear for the ICC World XI for the Tsunami benefit match in 2005.

Warne is also noted for his exuberant (and sometimes effective) lower-order batting, once famously being dismissed for 99 with a reckless shot on what was later shown to be a no-ball. In fact, of all Test cricketers Warne has scored the most Test runs without having scored a century, with two scores in the nineties being his best efforts (99 and 91). Warne is also third overall in the most international test ducks. Of players who have batted in more than 175 Test innings, his proportion of dismissals by being out bowled is the lowest, at under seven percent.[113] In 2006 Warne and Glenn McGrath reportedly lost a bet of which bowler would be the first to get a Test century with fellow Australian bowler Jason Gillespie after Gillespie scored a record double-century as a nightwatchman against Bangladesh.

Warne has also been a successful slip fielder, and is currently seventh in the list of most catches as a fielder in test cricket.

Warne also has scored the most international runs without scoring any centuries (4172 runs) and also the first batsman to have scored 4000+ runs at international level without having scored a career century.[114]

Outside cricket


Warne has regularly worked as a cricket commentator, predominantly on Australia's Nine Network. He commentated during his one-year ban from cricket in 2003. On 13 July 2005, Nine announced it would not renew Warne's commentating contract, worth around A$300,000 annually, due to incidents in his private life.[115] He later rejoined Nine in 2008, and was a member of its commentary team until Nine lost the broadcasting rights in 2018. He was also signed by Sky Sports in 2009.[116]

In the Australian sitcom Kath & Kim, a recurring theme was that sports-mad Sharon Strzelecki idolised Warne. In 2007, Warne appeared in the final episode of Series 4, playing "Wayne", a Shane Warne impersonator who marries Sharon.

Warne took over from Ally McCoist as a team captain on the BBC television sports quiz A Question of Sport in September 2007.

In 2010, the Nine Network commissioned a chat show hosted by Warne, entitled Warnie. The program debuted on 24 November 2010, with Warne interviewing James Packer.[117] Celebrities interviewed on the programme included then captain of the Australian cricket team Ricky Ponting, and the singers Chris Martin and Susan Boyle.[118][119] The program experienced spiralling audience figures and was axed before its final scheduled episode, although the network denied that it had been cancelled due to poor ratings.[120]


In 2005, Shane Warne signed a lucrative multi-year sponsorship deal[121][122] with Messages On Hold. The irony of Warne promoting On Hold phone messages after weathering the ignominy of several SMS/text messaging scandals was not lost on the spin bowler.[123] Several media sources, and even Messages On Hold's own promotional materials quote him as saying, "Trust me with this recommendation—I know a thing or two about spin."[124]

Warne also does promotional work for hair-loss-recovery company Advanced Hair. This matter was investigated by the British Advertising Standards Authority in relation to an illegal celebrity endorsement of medical services.[125]

Warne has also endorsed the Codemaster video games Shane Warne Cricket and Shane Warne Cricket '99. Outside Australia these were known as Brian Lara Cricket and Brian Lara Cricket '99.

For the 2007/08 Australian cricket series, Warne took over as Victoria Bitter spokesperson from David Boon in the Boonanza promotion.[126] Warne had a talking figurine as part of the promotion, which continued from the "Talking Boony" doll.[127]

In January 2008, Warne signed a two-year agreement with 888poker to represent them at poker events around the world including the Aussie Millions, World Series of Poker and the 888 UK Poker Open. This sponsorship agreement ended in January 2015.[128]

In 2009 Warne started an underwear line called Spinners.[129][130][131][132][133]


In February 2016 Warne stated, while appearing on I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here, that he does not believe in the scientific theory of evolution, and that he thinks humans have descended from "aliens".[134]

Personal life

Warne has three children named Brooke, Summer and Jackson, with his ex-wife Simone Callahan.[135] He has complete heterochromia, from which one of his eyes is blue, and the other green.[136]

Since his retirement, Warne had been doing "work for the Shane Warne Foundation... [which] assists seriously ill and underprivileged children."[137] Since launching in 2004, the charity distributed £400,000; its activities include a charity poker tournament and a breakfast and "by the end of our summer, we hope to have raised £1.5 million."[137] The charity closed in 2017.

Warne was criticised in the press for text messaging a woman while on tour in South Africa, accused of sending lewd and harassing messages, but the woman who made the claims was subsequently charged with extortion in her own country.[138]

In 2000, he lost his Australian vice-captaincy after sending erotic text messages to a British nurse. He was also involved in an altercation with some teenage boys who took a photo of him smoking; Warne had accepted a sponsorship of a nicotine patch company in return for quitting smoking.[139]

On 7 May 2006, the News of the World tabloid newspaper published pictures of Warne standing in his underwear with models Coralie Eichholz and Emma Kearney, as well as explicit text messages allegedly from Warne.[140]

On 1 April 2007, Warne and his wife were reported to be getting back together.[141] However, in September 2007, Simone returned to Australia from England after her husband had accidentally sent a text message meant for another woman to her phone.[142][143]

Warne's history of high-profile marital infidelities inspired Australian singer-songwriter Kevin Bloody Wilson's 2003 music video entitled "The Shane Warne Song" as well as lines in Tim Minchin's "Some People Have It Worse Than Me" and "The JLA Song".

On 12 December 2010, following press reports and footage of him and English actress Elizabeth Hurley kissing, Warne announced via his Twitter account that he and Simone had separated a couple of months previously, but only his close friends and family had been informed.[144][145] Although the relationship with Hurley at first seemed short-lived following the disclosure of Warne texting salacious messages to a married Melbourne businesswoman,[146][147] the couple created a media frenzy when Hurley later moved into Warne's Brighton mansion.[148] Hurley and Warne's engagement was confirmed in late 2011.[149] On 17 December 2013, WHO Magazine reported that the couple had "called off" their engagement.[150]


In early December 1998, the Australian Cricket Board revealed that three years earlier it had fined Warne and Mark Waugh for accepting money from a bookmaker (allegedly a man named John who was Sri Lankan according to Shane Warne in his autobiography) for giving information about pitch and weather conditions.[151]

Just before the start of the 1999 World Cup, he was given a fine and a two-match suspended ban by the International Cricket Council for telling a newspaper about Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga that: "There is plenty of animosity between Arjuna and myself. I don't like him and I'm not in a club of one".[54]

In February 2003, a day before the start of the World Cup, Warne was sent home after a drug test during a one-day series in Australia returned a positive result for a banned diuretic.[80] Warne claimed that he took only one of what he called a "fluid tablet" – the prescription drug Moduretic – given to him by his mother to improve his appearance.[81] A committee established by the Australian Cricket Board found Warne guilty of breaching the Board's drug code, and imposed a one-year ban from organised cricket.[82]

In 2013, Warne was fined $4,500 and banned for one match for using obscene language, making inappropriate physical contact with a player or official (Marlon Samuels) and showing serious dissent at an umpire's decision during a BBL match.[105]


In 2007, Cricket Australia and Sri Lanka Cricket decided to name the Australia- Sri Lanka Test cricket series, Warne–Muralidaran Trophy in honour of Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan.[152]

Performance analysis

Bangladesh287.21230011105 for 11327.2747.63.43
England361792.548845351951148 for 7123.2555.12.52
ICC World XI1317716003 for 2311.8331.02.29
India14654.1139202943106 for 12547.1891.23.10
New Zealand20961.42522511103306 for 3124.3756.02.61
Pakistan15675.1192181690627 for 2320.1745.02.68
South Africa241321.23673142130727 for 5624.1660.92.37
Sri Lanka13527.5132150759525 for 4325.5453.62.85
West Indies19679.4159194765307 for 5229.9562.72.86
Zimbabwe153.1131376003 for 6822.8353.12.57
Overall (9)1456784.117611799570837108 for 7125.4157.42.65
Source: Cricinfo[153]

Career best performances

Score Fixture Venue Season
Test 8/71 Australia v England Gabba, Brisbane 1994 [154]
ODI 5/33 Australia v West Indies SCG, Sydney 1996 [155]
FC 8/71 Australia v England Gabba, Brisbane 1994 [154]
LA 6/42 Surrey v Hampshire Whitgift School, Croydon 2006 [156]
T20 4/21 Deccan Chargers v Rajasthan Royals Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur 2010 [157]

International record

He is the third highest five-wicket haul taker in the international arena after Muttiah Muralitharan and Richard Hadlee. He has taken 37 Test fifers and single ODI fifer, along with 10 Test ten-wicket hauls.

Test 10 Wicket hauls

112/12822 South AfricaSydney Cricket GroundSydneyAustralia1994
211/11030 EnglandBrisbane Cricket GroundBrisbaneAustralia1994
311/7739 PakistanBrisbane Cricket GroundBrisbaneAustralia1995
412/10963 South AfricaSydney Cricket GroundSydneyAustralia1998
511/22992 EnglandKennington OvalLondonEngland2001
611/188102 PakistanP Sara OvalColomboSri Lanka2002
710/159108 Sri LankaGalle International StadiumGalleSri Lanka2004
810/155109 Sri LankaAsgiriya StadiumKandySri Lanka2004
910/162125 EnglandEdgbaston Cricket GroundBirminghamEngland2005
1012/246128 EnglandKennington OvalLondonEngland2005


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  • Warne, Shane (2006). My Illustrated Career. Cassell Illustrated. ISBN 1-84403-543-3.
  • Shane Warne's Century – My Top 100 Cricketers by Shane Warne (Mainstream Publishing, 2008) ISBN
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Ricky Ponting
Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World
Succeeded by
Andrew Flintoff
Preceded by
Roger Federer
BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
Roger Federer
Sporting positions
Preceded by
John Crawley
Hampshire cricket captains
Succeeded by
Dimitri Mascarenhas
Preceded by
Muttiah Muralitharan
Most career wickets in Test cricket
708 wickets (25.41) in 141 Tests
Held record 15 October 2004 to 3 December 2007
Succeeded by
Muttiah Muralitharan
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