Remembering Shane Warne: He made everything look so simple, says Suresh Raina
Former Indian cricketer Suresh Raina says the way late Shane Warne conducted himself on the field — so cool and different, always wanting to win — that desire to win and entertain, was something that always stuck with me.
On Friday evening (March 4), when it was reported that Shane Warne, the Australian bowler who revolutionised wrist spin in modern cricket, had did of a heart attack in Thailand at the age of 52, it left pretty much everyone in shock.
Remembering the late legend, Suresh Raina, former Indian cricketer says, “I remember grew up watching him, and the way he conducted on the field. Just so cool and different, always wanting to win. That desire to win and entertain, was something that always stuck with me, while I was growing up.”
Like Raina, Warne’s peers, former teammates, on-field rivals and fans remembered Warne for his contribution to the sport, inspiring generations with that slow little walk, a quick jump, before delivering the lip-smacking deliveries, that earned him 708 International Test Wickets, a feat which was only behind Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan, till Warne’s retirement from international cricket in 2007.
“I remember watching that Ashes series of 2005-06 in England, and remember being in awe of it. It was such a hard-fought series and Warne was at the center of it, in almost every match, almost every day. He led by example, and his desire to win and to entertain is exactly what made him so loved across the world, not just Australia,” adds Raina.
Warne’s belief in himself and the ability to make “everything look so simple”, as Raina puts it, was one of the biggest reasons why Warne was hugely followed cricketer across the globe including India. And it was evident when the Aussie was made handed the captaincy of Rajasthan Royals in the very first season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008, thus making him the first ever Captain in the history of IPL who was of foreign descent.
“He commanded respect on and off the field, and it showed in that campaign. Everyone in Rajasthan Royals, were just so united under his leadership, because of his personality and the passion he had for the game along with that knowledge,” says Raina, who was part of the Chennai Super Kings team, which lost to Warne’s Rajasthan Royals in the final of that inaugural IPL tournament.
“His cricketing knowledge about the game, was just incredible and the way he viewed the game was so different, which is why maybe Rajasthan won the first season as well. I saw he was very close to Kuldeep (Yadav; Indian off-spinner) and really loved advising him about the art of spin,” says Raina.
“In India, he received so much of love, only because he reciprocated that love back. He knew people loved watching him play, be it for Australia or Rajasthan Royals, and he too, loved being here. Even when he was not playing, even when he was doing commentary, he knew the game and the moments which affect it,” he signs off.