UNVEILED: December, 2011
LOCATION: Outside Gate 2
Shane Warne is widely regarded as one of the finest leg spin bowlers in the history of cricket.
His durability and impact on the modern game assure his place alongside them in cricket’s pantheon. In 2000, he was selected as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, the only specialist bowler selected in the quintet.
Warne played his first Test match in 1992, and his 708 wickets was the record for the most wickets taken by any bowler in Test cricket, until it was broken by Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan on December 3, 2007.
He took more than 1000 international wickets (in Tests and one-day internationals) and was the second bowler to reach this milestone after Muralitharan.
A useful lower-order batsman, Warne also scored more than 3000 Test runs, and he holds the record for most Test runs without a century. He retired from international cricket in January 2007, at the end of Australia’s 5-0 Ashes series victory over England.
As well as Australia, he also played Australian 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.
Despite 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. Warne combined the ability to turn the ball prodigiously, even on unhelpful pitches, with unerring accuracy and a wide variation of deliveries (notable among these being the flipper).
Many of his most spectacular performances have occurred in Ashes series against England, including a hat-trick on the MCG in 1994 and a five-wicket haul and 700th wicket in his final MCG Test in 2006. But it is the famous “Gatting Ball”, which spun sharply and bowled a bemused Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes series, for which he is arguably most fondly remembered.
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.
As well as his Test career Warne was highly effective bowling in one-day cricket, something few other leg spin bowlers have managed. Warne was instrumental in helping Australia win the 1999 Cricket World Cup in England. His performances in the semi final against South Africa and in the final against Pakistan, helped him get man of the match awards.
Warne achieved his 700th Test wicket December 26, 2006 at the MCG when he bowled English batsman Andrew Strauss in his final Test appearance at the ground. The wicket was described as a “classic Warne dismissal” to which the crowd of 89,155 gave a standing ovation.