Not Warne(d) of His Arrival, Not Warne(d) of His Departure

Akshobh Giridharadas
7 min readMar 13, 2022

I am lost for words, but I will try and find thousand-odd ones for this article.

And I don’t think I will find those right words, certainly not enough to capture the lifetime of the cricketing connoisseur, or to describe the poetry in motion of this talismanic tweaker or touch on this Victorian’s vices, both on and off the field. There are other innings he played as well, there is the commentator connoisseur, not quite Benaud, but just as sagacious, and then that nearly England coach that he could have been.

Ahh Benaud! There was a drought and a dearth in the spin department in Australia, in fact many saw leg spin as a dying art. Abdul Qadir kept the coals warm, but there was the missing oomph that was needed.

So, enter a regular a podgy lad from Upper Ferntree Gully in Victoria, wavy blonde hair, jewelry adornments, cheekiness from the yap and the trap. To batsman, he laid out the sledges and got the edges. As Nasser Hussain, his competitor turned colleagued writes, “on the sledging. It was like having your own part in the theatre.”

But where does one start with Warne? Because everyone has their own Warne story? That Gatting Ball in 1993, or the Strauss Ball in 2005, or the promised land of 700? World Cup Win in 99, and missing out in 2003 because of his own neglect? It’s the conundrum of not being able to write when there is so much to write, because the fear of doing injustice to the legacy of the stalwart. Prose doesn’t do justice to pantheon immortals. Their magic isn’t defined by words, you lived it, watched it, studied it, and absorbed it. And yet in the wise words of the Bee Gees, “words are all I have”.

He made his debut in 1992, along with Ravi Shastri. A loyal Victorian getting his baggy green at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Cricket’s sadism can be funny. But he only announced his career to the world in 1993 and in the words of his own autobiography, “ended Mike Gatting’s career”. Ravi Shastri was his first wicket, but Mike Gatting was the birth of a phenomenal career. His first ball in England, and in the words of Bill Ricquier (a sagacious friend and someone who Shashi Tharoor regarded as the finest cricket writer) describes that ball “as bowled to an indelibly, eternally, bemused Mike Gatting at Old…

Akshobh Giridharadas

A journalist by profession. He writes about business & finance, geopolitics, sports & tech news. He is a TEDx & Toastmasters speaker. Follow him @Akshobh