Shane Warne dies: Mike Gatting, victim of legend's famous 'ball of the century', pays tribute to cricket's 'number one'
On that early summer day at Old Trafford nearly 30 years back, Warne had landed that leg break outside the off stump, but the ball spun off the surface and hit the top of off.
Former England batter Mike Gatting, who had fallen victim to the famous 'ball of the century' paid an emotional tribute to Shane Warne, hailing him as cricket's 'number one', after Australia cricket legend died on Friday.
Gatting stood at the wrong end of the delivery that did not just etch its name in the history of cricket, but also revived the noble art of leg spin. Warne eventually finished his illustrious 15-year-long career with 708 wickets, which is the second-most in Test history after Muttiah Muralitharan.
“Absolutely devastating and I just feel so sad for his family. It is a huge loss to many, many people,” Gatting told Sky Sports News.
"Without a doubt, he is the number one ever. I should think there have been a lot of great cricketers, great spinners and great leg-spinners but Warnie will always be, certainly from my point of view, the number one.
“He had all the things a cricketer needed, a lot of self-confidence, a lot of ability, the discipline, passion and desire. Above all he had time to enjoy it. He had great fun playing cricket and resonated with a lot of youngsters. The inspirational leg-spin he bowled I am sure inspired many, many guys to take up leg-spin bowling.”
On that early summer day at Old Trafford nearly 30 years back, Warne had landed that leg break outside the off stump, but the ball spun off the surface and hit the top of off leaving Gatting and world cricket completely befuddled. Warne later went on to pick 194 more wickets in the Ashes, but the first of all those dismissals remained of the greatest ever Test deliveries.
Gatting added: "When it came down I knew it was a leg break but I didn't expect it to spin that much. When we often spoke about it, I am not sure he expected it to spin that much.
“He said he just tried to get it down the other end the best he could. Well, it was a bit too good for me.”