|Teams Played||Australia, ICC World XI, Australia A, Hampshire, Rest of the World, Rajasthan Royals, Victoria, Australia Under-19, Australian XI, Melbourne Stars, Warnes Warriors|
When the chubby Shane Warne made his Test debut in 1992 against India, one wouldn’t have presumed the tremendous potential the leg spinner possessed. 145 Tests and 15 years later, the man had 708 victims in his kitty, taking over 1000 international wickets, only second to Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan. His useful lower-order batting fetched him more than 3000 runs in Test cricket, without a single century. The more interesting part was the way he went about plotting the downfall of the batsmen, outwitting and out-thinking them into submission. Mike Gatting received what they later called the 'Ball of the Century', and for years after that, the Englishmen treated Warne as if he was a ticking bomb, waiting to explode. His bowling was a blend of simplicity and accuracy.
However, like any great cricketer, Warne had one Achilles Heel, and that was in the form of Sachin Tendulkar, for whom he once famously claimed that he had nightmares of Tendulkar dancing down the wicket and hitting him for a six. “Warney” as he is nicknamed, had his moments of glory but one thing that he would always regret is that despite being a solid performer, his controversies ensured that the Test captaincy was never going to be his. Warne and controversies always went hand-in-hand. In 2003, he was found guilty of breaching ACB’s drug code and a one-year ban was imposed on him. He returned to competitive cricket in 2004, which became the better phase of his career.
If anybody thought that one of the Wisden top 5 cricketers of the 20th century couldn't get any better, well, they had another thing coming. Warne's comeback in 2004 was as beautiful as the northern lights in the night sky. This was where he brought some variations into his bowling, with the flippers and the zooters and the sliders adding to his repertoire. His ability to adapt to the changing game helped him have a terrific end to his international career. Despite having an arsenal of deliveries in his armoury, he largely relied on his two old mates - the impeccable leg break and threatening accuracy. Shane Keith Warne was a real joy to behold during the last 2-3 years of his career.
Warne’s international retirement came in 2007, after Australia reclaimed the Ashes series of 2006-07, which was his ultimate goal. In March 2008, he signed to play for the Rajasthan in the Indian T20 League as their captain and coach and led the team to the title glory. Later, in 2011, he was retained by the Royals for both the roles, following which he announced his retirement from all forms of the game in 2012. His aggressive captaincy and superb man-management skills were so brilliant, that experts and former players alike went on to say that he was the greatest captain Australia never had. The man himself admitted in his autobiography that not captaining his country was one of his greatest regrets.