December 21, 2006

Sh: ane Warne announces his retirement. "I don't think I could have written my script any better. I thought I'd be sad, but I sit here a happy man." He has 699 test wickets to his name (and two test matches left to become the first person ever to take 700). The first ball he ever delivered in the Ashes (in 1993) has become known as the ball of the century.

posted by JJ to other at 09:23 AM - 18 comments

That last link isn't working - sorry - YouTube to the rescue.

posted by JJ at 09:26 AM on December 21, 2006

More at The Sports Economist.

posted by yerfatma at 12:07 PM on December 21, 2006

Not being a cricket fan or the least bit knowledgable I probably shouldn't say this. But 699 retired batsmen from over a dozen years of play, an average of less than 60 a year, just doesn't seem that impressive. Wouldn't a bowler face and (eventually) retire 10 or more batters in each five day test?

posted by billsaysthis at 02:27 PM on December 21, 2006

Not so, Mr Bill. Each five day test has a maximum of 20 wickets to fall and each side will probably use five bowlers during those five days. Plus, there will be tests where not all 20 wickets fall. Warne has played 143 tests, giving him a maximum number of wickets of 2860, of which he's taken 699, or very nearly a quarter of all possible wickets. Warne has 25 more wickets than the second placed bowler, (Muttiah Muralitharan), and 144 wickets more than the third placed man - the best seamer on the list - Glenn McGrath. 699 is incredibly impressive and I think we can expect to see him add a few more and become the first man to reach 700. (bold meant to add to "wow" of being so far ahead of third place and not to ram the point home or anything)

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:47 PM on December 21, 2006

Ok, I don't have the stamina to go through Warne's 143 tests, so I picked his first ten and his last ten, to try to get a rough idea of how many wickets the Australian team have taken. In his first ten matches, the Aussies took 154 wickets, out of a maximum possible of 200. In his most recent ten tests, the Aussies took 191 of the 200 available. That's 17.25 (of the 20 possible) per test. Making 2466 wickets taken During Warne's career, which pushes his 699 up to 28.3% of available wickets. For a review of Warne's career, in the sort of depth that would probably appeal to a baseball fan, mentioning no grum names, click here.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 03:13 PM on December 21, 2006

Great links, guys. Whatever you might think of Shane Warne as a human being, or whatever the stats say, he is the greatest wrist spinner of all time. Nobody gave the ball as much of a rip, was as competitive, or lasted so long at the top. Muralitharan will overtake him soon, and with better stats. He bamboozles batsmen, too, but in a different way. Leggies take bigger risks, and are more fun to watch. But some of the good things I'll remember: - the 'ball of the century' - the psyching out of Daryll Cullinan - The Oval in 2005 The only question I would leave you with, is one that Richie Benaud (also a leggie) often posed: Warne has such a good googly, why doesn't he use it?

posted by owlhouse at 04:46 PM on December 21, 2006

Skills in cricket and a good googly too? He must be a hit with the ladies.

posted by DudeDykstra at 04:55 PM on December 21, 2006

Don't even go there, DudeDykstra! Also a farewell to Glenn McGrath, who announced his retirement from Test cricket at the same time. He 'll probably stay on for the World Cup, however. As Mr B said, McGRath's the fast bowler with the highest number of Test wickets, and because of playing 100 Tests with Warne, probably part of the best Australian bowling duo ever.

posted by owlhouse at 05:12 PM on December 21, 2006

Thanks for the explanation, MrB.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:20 PM on December 21, 2006

So much talent, so few brains! Glad to have been alive in the era of a genuine all-time great.

posted by Abiezer at 01:50 AM on December 22, 2006

Warne has such a good googly, why doesn't he use it? Far be it from me to question Richie (about anything, but particularly about the art of leg spin), but for me, the thing that made his googly so good was the very fact that he didn't bowl it very often. He used it (or the threat of it) far more often than he bowled it.

posted by JJ at 05:41 AM on December 22, 2006

googly? That's an actual sporting term? Do say more!

posted by tieguy at 08:25 AM on December 22, 2006

Whatever you might think of Shane Warne as a human being, By all accounts he is a pretty good human being, always willing to help and encourage the opposition, once the game is over. I was reading something about him earlier and a good England player, I can't remember who, made the point that whereas Murali tried to put maximum spin on every ball, Warne varied everything, spin, speed, flight, so you never knew what was coming, which might explain why he didn't need to be over reliant on the googly.

posted by Fat Buddha at 05:07 PM on December 22, 2006

By all accounts he is a pretty good human being, always willing to help and encourage the opposition, once the game is over. Warne seems like a mixed bag as a human being. He treated his wife like shit, the "My Mum gave me the banned drugs" was a pretty piss-poor episode. On the other hand, after the Boxing Day tsunami he put a huge amount of, not just money, but personal effort into helping Sri Lankans hit by the disaster - especially notable after the anti-SL sentiment that was rife in Australia around Murali and Ranatunga.

posted by rodgerd at 05:44 PM on December 22, 2006

googly? That's an actual sporting term? Do say more A "googly" or "wrong 'un" is a ball delivered by a wrist spinner out of the back of the hand. It looks like a normal leg break, which will turn from the leg side to the off side for a right handed batsman. A leg break is the stock ball, or standard delivery, from a wrist spinner. However, the googly is actually spinning the other way, i.e. from off to leg, or in towards a right handed batsman. If a batsman doesn't pick it, they might end up bowled or leg before wicket, and therefore out. As JJ says, it should be used sparingly, especially when the batsmean is not expecting it. One of the reasons Warne did not use it so much could be due to his incredible accuracy for a wrist spinner. A googly is most effective when it pitches outside off stump and darts back. Hence to fool a good batsman it has to look like a loose delivery. Warne didn't bowl loose deliveries, so anything pitching outside off probably had alarm bells ringing in the batsman's head. As a human being? Unfortunately such brilliant talent on the field was marred by Warne being very much a yobbo off it. Not so much to his fellow cricketers (apart from Cullinan and a few others) but in general the treatment of women, the drug suspension, the tabloid stuff took a bit away from Warne the man.

posted by owlhouse at 06:13 PM on December 22, 2006

After Martyn, Warne and McGrath, who'll quit cricket next? Many of the world's greatest players are retiring from the game, leaving the fans wanting more and reminiscing about past glories:

posted by sportingo at 04:39 AM on December 24, 2006

The Aussies got their Trophy Back.

posted by desigol at 11:49 AM on December 26, 2006

And Warne now has number 700, as well as five-fer on Boxing Day in his home Test.

posted by owlhouse at 03:42 PM on December 26, 2006

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