Shane Warne: Arcane Art

"(He's) the best thing that's happened to the game for many years." Sir Donald Bradman, 1995.

By Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Sporting Legends - Bradman Museum

Shane Warne ODI Shirt (back) (2000) by ISCBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

The King of Spin

Shane Warne can be regarded as the greatest leg-spin bowler in the annals of the game. 

Shane Warne's 600th Test Wicket (2005-08-11) by Hamish Blair/Getty ImagesBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Possessing a larger than life personality and a fierce-self belief to complement prodigious natural talent, Warne boisterously dismantled the defences of batsmen the world over from 1991 to 2006.
_____________________
Shane Warne takes his 600th Test wicket, the first bowler to do so. Image includes M. Trescothick (England). Umpire Billy Bowden (NZ). 3rd Test Old Trafford, England, 2005.

Honoured as one of Wisden's top five cricketer's of the 20th Century along with Don Bradman, Gary Sobers, Jack Hobbs and Vivien Richards, Warne sits comfortably amongst the other four greats of the game as the only specialist bowler named, the only one still playing when the list was released and the only one not to have been knighted.

Shane Warne's 700th Test wicket at MCG. (2006-12-26) by Philip BrownBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Warne's 700th Test Wicket

His overall record of 708 wickets at 25.41 from 145 Test matches attests to his genius.
_____________________
Image of Shane Warne, moments after taking his World Record 700th Test wicket, on the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), 26th December 2006. Batting was England Captain Andrew Strauss.

Few would demur that leg-spin bowling is the most intricate and arcane skill in a game renowned for its complexities. Warne, by nature a fearless gambler on and off the field, mastered and taught the art and returned it to the game’s lexicon the world over.

The Ball of the Century

Warne's first ball bowled on English soil at Old Trafford 1993 is known as the 'Ball of the Century'.

Shane Warne, ball of the century (1993) by Channel Nine, Wide World of SportsBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Shane Warne celebrates, following his 'Ball of the Century' delivery in the Ashes Test at Old Trafford, 1993.

Bowling sequence, Shane Warne (1996/1997) by Viv Jenkins, Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

The Art of Warne

Powerful forearms and rapid shoulder speed, mixed with imparting intense rotations on the ball set Warne apart from other spinners. However, what made him great was his ability to subtly vary pace, his deep self-belief, unwavering determination, and constant interrogation of the batsman's defences.

Shane Warne, thinking on his feet (1994/1995) by Viv Jenkins, Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Warne was constantly thinking on his feet, experimenting with deliveries and probing the batsman's defences.

Shane Warne, powerful bowling (1994/1995) by Viv Jenkins, Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Warne put immense effort into spinning the ball, which often yielded unplayable deliveries.

Shane Warne appeals by News Ltd/Newspix and Phil HillyardBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Warne befuddled and intimidated in equal measure and at the dawn of the 21st Century was arguably the most celebrated and polarising cricketer in the world – his fame and, indeed, notoriety having transcended the game.
_____________________
A strong personality, here we see Warne putting everything into an appeal.

Shane Warne, the Maestro (1994) by Viv Jenkins, Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Warne, the Maestro

Shane Warne- Clapped off by AustralianTeam, MCG. (1994/1995) by Viv Jenkins, Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Warne is clapped off the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) after taking 7/52 against the West Indies, 2nd Test 1994/95.

Shane Warne signing autographs (1994) by Viv Jenkins, Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Always a crowd favourite, Warne providing autographs during the 2nd Test at the MCG 1994/95.

Shane Warne 700th wicket crowds (2006) by Channel Nine, Wide World of SportsBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

On December 26, 2006, a jubilant home-crowd at the his home ground MCG witness Warne's 700th Test wicket - a milestone never before reached by an Australian bowler.

Shane Warne, Aussie Larrikin (1994/1995) by Viv Jenkins, Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Warne the Larrikin

Shane Warne's exuberant personality endeared him to the Australian public.

Shane Warne, celebrates Ashes victory. Trent Bridge (1997) by Philip BrownBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Shane Warne celebrating Australia's Ashes win on English soil in 1997, Trent Bridge.

Shane Warne gets Brian Lara (1995) by Gordon Brooks, Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Master and Commander

Shane Warne gets Brian Lara caught behind, during the 1995 Australia tour to the West Indies. He took an astounding 15 for the series.

Shane Warne & Brian Lara, Frank Worrell Trophy (1999) by Viv Jenkins, Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Shane Warne and Brian Lara pose with the Frank Worrell Trophy.
West Indies 1995.

The Warne Muralidaran Trophy (2007/2008) by Mark Kelly Photography and On loan Cricket Australia.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Inaugurated in the 2007/08 season and awarded to the winner of Australia v Sri Lanka Test series. Named after the 2 leading Test wicket takers from both teams, the trophy exhibits cricket balls bowled by Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralidaran held in pewter casts of their right hands.

Warne at Sydney Cricket Ground (2013) by Gregg PorteousBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Uniquely, the elaborate and sophisticated requirements of leg-spin and googly bowling have been a vital part of Australian cricket culture since Herbert “Ranji” Horden so flummoxed South African and English batsmen in just seven Tests early in the 20th Century.

Horden paved the way for a succession of shrewd, fearless leg-spinners who, like Warne, were charismatic gures who jauntily celebrated their art and earned the affection of spectators and respect of critics everywhere.
_____________________
Shane Warne made a successful transition to T20 cricket after retiring from Test matches in 2007. Here he enters the SCG for the Melbourne Stars in the first Big Bash season of 2013.

Shane Warne, 3rd Test Australia versus England (1995) by Tony Rafty. Donation Tony Cooper. Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Arcane Art: Australian Succession

Much loved humourist and cartoonist Arthur Mailey gave way to Clarrie Grimmett, who, unlike Warne, jealously guarded his technique before the redoubtable and forthright teacher and critic Bill 'Tiger' O’Reilly was feared and feted wherever he played.

Arthur Mailey in NSW state uniform, SCG. (1928) by Bradman Museum CollectionBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Australia's great Arthur Mailey at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in 1928.

Clarrie Grimmett bowling (1963) by Holman Fairfax Collection, Bradman Museum.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Australia's Clarrie Grimmett, aka 'The Fox', demonstrating his action in Sydney.

Bill 'Tiger' O'Reilly by Cricket NSW. Photographer Unknown.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

...and 'The Tiger', Australian Bill O'Reilly.

Richie Benaud at the nets, Australian Test Cricketer by Holman Fairfax Collection, Bradman MuseumBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

After the Second World War the mantle was assumed by Richie Benaud who carried it with distinction as Australia 29th Test match captain and, later, as the renowned analyser of Warne’s indisputable virtuosity.
_____________________
Image of Australian Test cricketer, Richie Benaud practicing in the nets, c.1960.

Shane Warne's 150th wicket ball (1994-12) by Mark Kelly Photography. Bradman Museum Collection and On loan Kevin CannonBradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

The Hat Trick Ball

The ball with which Shane Warne took a hat trick v England 2nd Test at the MCG, December 1994. He returned figures of 6-64 which included his 150th Test wicket.

Shane Warne the Legend (2006) by News Ltd.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame

Career Overview

Tests: 145

Bowling
Overs: 6784.1
Balls: 40,705
Runs: 17, 995
Wickets: 708
Average: 25.42
Best Bowling (match): 12/128

Batting
Innings: 199
Aggregate: 3154
Highest Score: 99
Average: 17.33
Catches: 125

ODI: 194
Overs: 1773.4
Balls: 10,642
Innings: 107
Runs: 7541
Aggregate: 1018
Wickets: 293
Highest Score: 55
Bowling Average: 25.74
Batting Average: 13.05
Best Bowling: 5/33
Catches: 80

"(He's) the best thing that's happened to the game for many years." Sir Donald Bradman, on Shane Warne, 1995.

Credits: Story

Author: Mike Coward
Art Direction: Monica Donoso, Bradman Museum.
© Bradman Museum 2019

Objects:
Hat Trick Ball, loan by Kevin Cannon. Bradman Museum Collection. Photography Mark Kelly.
Warne Murilithian Trophy, on loan Cricket Australia. Photography Mark Kelly.
Tony Rafty Illustration, donation Tony Cooper.Bradman Museum Collection. BM 2016.033
Bradman Museum Cigarette Card (Mailey).Bradman Museum Collection. BM 1992.077.061

Images:
News Ltd
Newspix
Hamish Blair/Getty Images
Channel Nine, Wide World of Sports
Philip Brown
Greg Porteous
Cricket NSW
Holman Fairfax Collection, Bradman Museum
Gordon Brooks Collection, Bradman Museum. BM 2016.131
Viv Jenkins Collection, Bradman Museum. BM 2010.284 / BM 2010.377 / BM 2010.320 / BM 2010.290 / BM 2012.022 / BM 2010.283

Videos:
Shane Warne Career Overview :: Narration Mike Coward, Bradman Museum.
700th Wicket :: Courtesy Channel Nine, Wide World of Sports.
Ball of the Century :: Courtesy Channel Nine, Wide World of Sports.

Archive footage authorised for use by Bradman Museum for non-commercial gain.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Australia: Great Sporting Land
Explore the unifying spirit of Australian sport - from tales to traditions, larrikins to legends
View theme
Google apps