Shane Warne Curated
Former Australian Cricketer
CURATED BY :
You were late coming into Cricket. When you were a kid you were more into Australian Football League and Tennis. What prompted this switch?
How much has the rejection from the Australian Football League which you dreamt to play in driven you throughout your career?
What kind of practice did you have to do to become such an amazing spin bowler?
Boxing Day, 2006, was when you took your 700th wicket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. What sticks most in your memory of that achievement?
During a lot of dismissals where you bowled a batsman out, they tend to look back at the stumps in utter disbelief trying to figure out how the ball turned so much. Did watching them do so gave you with a sense of victory?
Your first delivery of your Ashes career became something of a legend when it was termed the “Ball of the Century” where you dismissed England’s Mike Gatting. How was the experience of delivering such an amazing ball on your first ever try?
What kind of things did you do to unnerve the batsman?
How did you learn to get inside the batsmen’s heads?
You are obviously good at psyching people out, but did it ever work on you when you were on the receiving end?
Do you remember any incident where you were sledging someone and they replied back in a funny or clever way that you couldn’t stop laughing about?
How would you describe the health of Australian Cricket at the moment?
What is your take on the ball tampering incident that led to the ban on Steve Smith and his dismissal as the Captain on Australia?
Do you think the punishment inflicted on Steve Smith for the ball tampering incident was too harsh?
You have had your fair share of scandals in your life. Did those off the field incidents ever have an effect on your ability to perform on the field?
In your book you haven’t shied away from talking about your struggles on and off the pitch. How difficult was it for you to share all these things?
What do you think is a myth about you?
How has life been for you since your relationship with the widely known Elizabeth Hurley ended?
How tough is it for you to trust someone enough to open up to them? Would you like to get married again in the future?
What are your main regrets?
How have you kept your relationship with your children intact after the messy divorce with your ex-wife?
What has been the lowest moment of your life?
Where does the competitiveness go when a cricketer retires?
What do you miss the most about cricket?
You underwent sessions with a Psychologist when you were under mental stress. Did you come out of those sessions as a better person? Would you encourage other people with similar conditions to consult a Psychologist?
Your teammates have said that you are too quick to judge someone. How true is that?
How does your never give up attitude affect the team?
What did you learn from playing under the legendary Allan Border?
What did you learn from your seniors in the national team?
What do you think about modern days players in comparison to your era?
How was the experience of playing against some of the best cricketers of your era like Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar?
Who is better according to you? Brian Lara or Sachin Tendulkar?
You have said that you were fazed by Kevin Pietersen. How did you deal with him?
Who do you think emerges victorious in a Test match?
What according to you is the difference between Test Cricket and the other two formats?
Can competitiveness get out of hand? Like how we saw in the recent ball tampering incident by the Australian side?
What advice would you give to young Australian cricketers?
Do you think cricket has lost the fun factor in recent years?
What are your views on youngster being molded into being cricketers?
How did you start playing cricket?
You did quite a lot of odd jobs like delivering pizza, driving trucks, and working for a jeweler, before turning professional. Did those struggles motivate you even more to make a career out of cricket?
You say that late Australian bowler Terry Jenner had a massive influence on your career. Can you shed some light on that?
What are your views on coaching at the international level?
Do you ever feel frustrated that you never got to captain Australia?
How much of your success was down to natural talent?
What were your practice sessions like?
At what stage did you realize that you had become the master of your craft?
What are your views on T20 format rejuvenating Leg Spin bowling?
Can you walk us through your delivery in the 1993 Ashes Series that came to be known as the “Ball of the Century”?
You were ranked among the top 5 cricketers in WISDEN Cricketer of the Century poll. How does it feel to be given such an honour?
You have bowled to a plethora of batsmen. Who among them ranks in your top 3?
How were your battles with Sachin Tendulkar?
How was your experience of playing against India on Indian soil?
How was your experience of playing in the IPL?
What made you keep coming back to play in India?
Do you think this current Indian batsmen are good enough to thrive on spin bowling?
Do you think the quality of spin today is as good as it was during your generation?
You have an amazing record against England. How did you intimidate their batsmen?
What kind of experience is coaching a young player like?
What is your favourite memory from your career?
How did you approach a match?
Do you have any regrets in your cricketing career?
Who were the best captains you played under?
How did you handle the pressure and expectations that came with playing cricket for Australia?
How did you handle criticism?
How can we promote Test match cricket?
Who would you rather bowl at? The current Indian side or the old Indian side of the Sachins and Dravids?
What are your views on the Coach and the Captain not being able to work with each other? As seen before in the Chappell-Ganguly incident or the more recent Kumble-Kohli incident?
Do you think that the role of a Coach is over saturated?
With all the Captain-Coach fallouts in recent times, would you say that the Cricket board of a country should consult the Captain before appointing a Coach?
Has Virat Kohli according to you become somewhat of a game changer?
How did you retirement decision come about?
What factored more in your retirement decision? The body or the mind?
Did you want to be famous when you were a kid?
How did your family influence your life?
Growing up trying to get into the Australian Football League did you ever imagine your life would take such an amazing turn and you’d become a Cricketer?
What kind of a captain did you try to be?
How was your experience at the Cricket Academy?
When did you realize that you had the potential to be a cricketing great?
How was your first tour experience as an Australian cricketer?
You were told by your mentor Terry Jenner that you’d been presented the chance to play for Australia on a silver platter and that there were other deserving players who didn’t get the chance. What did you do to change that feeling of being handed a chance to represent Australia?
How do you mentally prepare yourself when you are about to bowl?
How did you get into the head of batsmen? Who did you target?
Who did you speak to regarding your retirement decision?
Out of your 708 wickets in your career, there has been only one hat-trick. Can you walk us through that hat-trick over?
Controversies and you go sort of go hand in hand; can you tell us which controversy damaged you the most?
How has your cricketing journey been?
What makes a good captain in your mind?
How do you deal with unfair criticism? Like being told by people that you were fast tracked into the Australian team?
Do you think that you can be a good mentor to youngsters?
Would you call yourself a good role model?
How did you get into bowling leg spin?
How did you prepare before a Test innings?
How can a bowler get back into rhythm after a poor performance?
What kind of strategy do you adapt to when you are bowling to a batsman who knows you inside out?
Do you think cricketers should be focused on stats?
Who according to you is the best batsman in this current generation?
Since you say Virat Kohli is the best batsman of this current generation, how would you try to dismiss him?
What differentiated the Australian side that you played in from the rest of the world?
Do you think the regulations these days on Cricket are a killjoy to the fun side of the sport? Is the code of conduct too tight?
Is there an excessive emphasis on compliance in Cricket now? Like you have to be part of a group?
How was your experience of playing in the IPL and captaining the Rajasthan Royal who emerged as the champions?
Was it difficult adapting to the T20 format?
What kind of positive changes have you seen in the sport since your retirement?
What is your most cherished moment?
Who had the biggest influence on your cricket career?
What caused you the greatest disappointment?
Opponent you disliked the most?
If given the authority, what change would you bring to cricket?
How can we make Test Cricket bigger in this T20 craze?
What according to you could be the most defining change in modern cricket?
How much did you have to hone your skills to make sure the ball spun as much or as less as you wanted it to?
What are the attributes required to be a good spin bowler?
You were banned from Cricket for a year just at the beginning of the 2003 World Cup for failing a doping test, and Australia eventually went on to win the World Cup that year. Do you regret that missed chance? How did you deal with the disappointment of what could have been?
How was your relationship with Muttiah Muralitharan? Who was your biggest rival?
Is the art of spin bowling dying in this T20 craze?
Overseas result for any team hasn’t been too good lately. What according to you is restricting cricketers from performing overseas?
How did it feel to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame?
How did it feel to be added to the small list of Australian cricketing legends in the ICC Hall of Fame?
How different is it being on the commentary side of the game?
Well, for a start there is a lot less pressure during the matches! You can actually do what you want, such as having a few too many drinks afterwards. You don’t have to watch what you eat or do the early morning training sessions. But all that said, I do take my commentary very seriously. I try to give insight into what the captains might be thinking on the field, but at the same time I don’t assume that everyone listening is a cricket expert who knows where Mid-off or Cover is.
Do you find it frustrating that cricket isn’t played more widely?
Not really. It’s actually the most participated sport in the world, it’s just that it is not played in America or the Far East. You’ll even find cricket teams in places like Italy, Greece and Argentina. In fact, Los Angeles alone has 45 cricket teams, although mostly made up of expats. Last year myself and Sachin Tendulkar attempted to take cricket to America with Superstars of Cricket. It was really exciting. At Citi Field in New York, we managed to get a total of 110,000 people come and watch three games. When myself and Sachin went to toss the coin there was an unbelievable atmosphere. So we want to bring cricket to places where it is followed but not played. Having ex-pros compete gives fans a chance to see their heroes like Wasim Akram, Glenn McGrath and Michael Vaughan, play live.
You’re no stranger to a tabloid headline. Did a young, fresh-faced Shane Warne ever expect the spotlight to be thrust upon him so intensely?
Not at all, and it happened so quickly. The thing is, there is no training for sudden fame. You fly by the seat of your pants, you make a lot of mistakes and try to learn from them. Sometimes you make the same mistakes again, but after a period of time you learn how things work. I’m pretty proud of who I am today, and the people I care most about know that. What I found most interesting was that when you are going through bad times, it’s amazing to see which of your mates drop everything for you, and which ones don’t. Eventually you work out who those friends are.
Is it strange to be working on projects with people like Sachin, who you battled with on the field for nearly 20 years?
When I started in the early ’90s, there was more camaraderie between the sides. At the end of each day the senior players would take the younger ones into the other team’s dressing room, share drinks and chat about the day’s play. So I think my generation understood the culture of the old ways because that’s how we were raised. We’d also have dinner with guys from opposition team the night before a game. I became great friends with Brian Lara, Jonty Rhodes, Darren Gough, Wasim and Sachin – and still am. It changed when those players who had played since the ’80s retired, and the era of ‘professionalism’ started. That camaraderie lost its way. Now the teams will perhaps only socialise at the end of a tour.
What advice would you give to a young bowler?
My advice to anyone is never leave the nets until you are happy. I bowled that day for five or six hours until it was dark. I never felt like I had leg-spin mastered. I was always tinkering.
What kind of a mentality did the Aussie side have in your playing days?
I think we did good as a team. Got too cocky, too arrogant at times. We thought we were better than the opposition... but we were. I still think overall we played the game in the right spirit. Hard, tough and, if we got beaten, shake the opponent’s hand and say, ‘well played, but we will beat you next time’.
You have publicly criticized Steve Waugh and showed that you didn’t have the best relationship with him. Can you shed some light on that?
I could go on and on about Steve Waugh and why he was so selfish. If five of us went for dinner and it was 100 quid. We all put in 20 quid and he’d say, ‘No no. I only had the steak. I had £11.25'. He was one of those. It’s no secret I don’t like him. He really became obsessed with averaging 50.
What is something that people don’t know about you?
Perception doesn’t always equal reality. People read headlines. Yes, I do like a bit of fun. Yes, I am silly. Yes, I like to have a few beers but I’ve also got a serious side. I am much more of a family man than people think. I might not have been a very good husband but I am a good dad. People who didn’t like me, probably will never like me, but I hope they have a better understanding of who I am, what I stand for and my journey. I’m not bullet-proof. A lot of things affected me and I was strong enough to overcome it.
When you’re commentating do you find yourself having to hold your tongue sometimes?
No what I try to bring to the table is what it's like being in the middle, what is going through the batsmen's or bowler's mind. But I am honest. For example if Michael Clarke — who is one of my best friends — plays a crap shot I’ll say; “that’s a pretty ordinary shot”. I just call it the way I see it, I’ve got no real bias at all. Obviously I’m Australian and I want Australia to win, but at the end of the day my job is to be impartial and to say what I see. I’m not afraid to give my opinion.
Do you ever still think you could do a job out there on the pitch?
If Australia keep bowling as they are then I could probably do a job! Nah, I mean I haven’t bowled much for the last year, so not really. It’s frustrating when they don’t bowl well, but at the end of the day all I want to see is some good cricket out there and for the best side to win — which I hope will be Australia! I think Australia’s best cricket is still good enough to win the series, but England aren’t allowing us to produce that at the moment. I just hope they can improve at Edgbaston.
Is cricket lacking characters these days?
We’ve just got to be careful - with all sports, let alone cricket - I think there’s so much emphasis on doing the right thing all the time, but I think the public want to be entertained when they come to watch sport. The public want to see people play an exciting brand of cricket. It’s like when people get fined for over-celebrating - all those sort of things that are just ridiculous and take all the fun out of sport. I also think there’s too many players who say the same boring answers, they don’t even have to turn up to interviews ‘cos journalists answer their own questions the way they ask them. Unfortunately the way it is now players are so afraid to say anything, but I’d like them to be honest.
How do you find the banter in England, given the rivalry?
I find English people laugh at themselves and say they’re bad at everything, but then if they’re winning — bloody hell they become unbelievably obnoxious! It’s all, “We’re gonna stuff ya!”, but before a ball is bowled it’s like “oh we’re rubbish”. With Australians we’re saying we’re going to win before we start playing and pretty much keep on saying that. But English fans have generally been good with me.
Are there rifts in the England and Australia teams during an Ashes series?
You're always going to have incidents in a team. Before, it was never a big deal. Some people just didn't like each other. But, as soon as you cross that white line, you're all in it together. You spend eight or nine months with the same people, living in the same bus, same planes, same rooms, dressing rooms, speaking to them every day, you sit around all the time together, you're in each other's pockets, so there are always going to be little things that go on. It never affected a result, in my experience, maybe a few performances over time. But not really.
What are your views on other countries “imitating” the IPL and coming up with their own brand of T20 tournaments?
Playing for your country has to be number one. But, if common sense prevailed, the IPL would run for four weeks in April, with a week either side when there was no international cricket. Every player in the world would be available. Instead of everyone trying to copy the IPL, because it worked, they should support it and say, you know what, this is a great advertisement for this brand of cricket, worldwide. Twenty-four million viewers watched the final. Now there aren't many sporting events where 24 million people watch it.
What are you experiences of the IPL?
The IPL is just pure, intense. You don't need all the other stuff. I don't believe in coaches in international cricket. When I finished, I had nothing else to prove. The enjoyment [wasn't there]. I was whinging about a lot of little things. If you could just turn up the night before and play, then I'd still probably be playing. But there's too much other rubbish they carry on with these days, jump tests, fitness things, all this absolute nonsense. To me, cricket is a simple game. Keep it simple and just go out and play. None of these team meetings and dissecting players on computers.
Muttiah Muralitharan’s bowling action has been called out so many times in his career. What are your views on that?
It's irrelevant whether you think he throws, or doesn't throw. What he can actually do with the ball is fascinating, pretty amazing. I said about nine years ago that he would take a thousand Test wickets.
How did you react to being dropped from the team by Steve Waugh with whom you didn’t have a good relationship? Were you disappointed?
Disappointed is not a strong enough word. When the crunch came Tugga [Steve Waugh] didn’t support me, and I felt so totally let down by someone who I had supported big time and was also a good friend. I didn’t respond too well to the dropping. I wasn’t that supportive of the team, which I regret. Looking back, this was probably a combination of the shoulder issue still eating away at me and the pure anger bubbling inside at Steve’s lack of trust. During the first three Tests, at various times some of the bowlers came to me, grumbling about Tugga’s captaincy and field placements and stuff. I said I was backing him to the hilt and if they had a problem with the captain they should go see him direct. Perhaps because of this, I was deeply disappointed that he didn’t back me in return.
When did your relationship with Steve Waugh began to sour? And why?
After taking over as captain. ...there was more to it than my performances — I think it was jealousy. He started to niggle away, telling me to look at my diet and spend more time on deciding what sort of person I wanted to be in my life, how to conduct myself — that sort of stuff. I said, ‘Mate - worry about yourself’. I think Steve turned into a more selfish player when he had his second run in the Test team, which changed him. My philosophies on the game were more aligned with Mark Taylor than with Steve; though, in fairness, Steve was a successful cricketer, if in a very different way to AB [Allan Border] and Mark Taylor, whose style and direction I much preferred. It’s no secret that Steve and I don’t see eye to eye these days.
Despite your record breaking achievements in cricket, you never really performed excellently against India on Indian soil. Do you have any regrets?
It’s not a regret. I had a shoulder and a finger operation in two of the tours in India, which was really disappointing. The Indian side, back then with Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Sehwag…. It was very hard over there in India. I gave my best, but they were too good.
Who according to you is better? Steve Smith or Virat Kohli?
To me Steve Smith is the best Test batsman in the world. Virat Kohli is the best across all three formats of the game, but across five days, Steve Smith is the man. The hole in Kohli’s CV on the Test match stage is in England and the pressure is on the fiery but very likable Indian to carry over some double-ton magic from home soil to that country when his team tours.
What do you base your judgement of a batsman on?
I don’t assess greatness by stats, but rather by the way someone played the game, the way they influenced results and the impact they had on all of us. To me a great batsman has to have made a hundred in three key countries: in England, against the Duke ball on seaming and swinging pitches; in Australia, on our fast-paced, bouncy tracks; and of course, in the dust bowls of India, on pitches that spin and spit.
You could turn the ball amazingly at just the age of 22, unlike some leg spinners who couldn’t do it until they had a 8-9 year experience of bowling. Do you think you were naturally talented and built for it?
What do you think of the Kohli – Tendulkar comparison?
Very hard to judge when someone is playing and very hard to judge eras. Think about the bowlers in the ’90s. Different surfaces that seamed. Now they’re a lot flatter. The ball swung more. So many invariables. But to think that someone was better than Brian Lara and Sachin – in those mid-’90s – against Wasim, Waqar, Curtly, Courtney, McGrath, Donald, Saqlain, Mushy, Vettori, Murali, myself. You can go on. Virat is breaking all the records, which is great but I want to wait. See, what people miss is this: You can set benchmarks, score those many centuries, average that high, score a lot many runs. But what people are going to remember you for is the way you played the game. Someone should run down the street and ask fans, how many runs did Mark Waugh make or what his average was? They wouldn’t have a clue but chances are, here’s what they’ll say: I loved watching him play. To my mind, what’s already evident is that Virat is one of the best players of all time. In One-dayers, he probably has to go down with Viv Richards as the greatest ever, not so much for the record but for the way he plays his game. But I’ll judge him at the end of his career.
Given the huge fan following of Cricket in India, how did you feel the fans were when you played in the IPL for the Rajasthan Royals?
In 20 years of playing, I haven't experienced any like what I experienced in India last year. It was truly unbelievable. The Ashes [in] '05 comes pretty close to the intensity of the crowd, and the passion and the news, but we were getting [more than] 110,000 at Eden Gardens, there was 25,000 outside the ground for the final, plus 90,000 in the stadium.
Do you think Muttiah Muralitharan’s record of 800 wickets will ever be broken? With you coming the closest to doing so?
I don't think it will ever be broken. Even though so much more Test cricket is played these days, I think Murali's record will stand for a long, long time and probably forever. You just have to work it out by numbers - for that record to be broken someone has to play 140-150 Tests and take 5-6 wickets a Test. That will take some doing.
What’s the “Aussie” way of appointing a Captain?
The Australian way is always to pick your best team. We as Australians should always pick our best team and then pick our captain and vice-captain from that. I don’t think we should just make a captain and then fit a side around him.
With so many other leagues being introduced all over the world, what makes IPL the relatively best and the flag bearer?
There are a couple of things that stand out. Indian cricket has been the biggest benefactor. Go back 11 years, cricketers lacked in confidence, there was an underlying sense of inferiority. And now, look at them. Training with international players, sharing dressing rooms, sharing knowledge have all contributed so immensely. Today, if India is the number one team in the world, a lot of credit goes to the IPL for it. Because, it's been a great learning curve. The league added a new dimension to India's first class circuit. What the BCCI has now is something ever international team wants to copy. India now are leading the way and the force that IPL has become has a huge role to play in it. Who would've thought India would have the world's best pace attack? In the nets, the Indians were bowling alongside Shaun Tait, Brett Lee, some of the world's best fast bowlers. Practicing with them, interacting with them has helped. The opportunity that a leagye like the IPL gives to youngsters in incredible. That has resulted in a huge change in attitude. Positivity has seeped in.
Is IPL doing enough today to keep innovating? Or is it stuck in some sort of a time warp?
There are administrators who've had foresight to make way for a property like this. I'm sure there will be equally efficient individuals in the future. But if there's a change, it has to be for the better.
Is Cricket Australia’s culture change a work in progess?
I don't really know if there was a problem with the culture. But what I do know is after sandpaper-gate, how many people loved seeing the Australians in trouble and how many people sunk their boot in. How many people kicked them when they were down. There might have been an issue because every team did not like the Australians and that's okay. You don't have to be liked but you need to be respected. And there's a few things the Australian team did (to lose that respect). They need to earn back that respect.
Is the Australian Cricket Board trying to fix something that’s not broken?
They need to work out what's important to them. I can understand why they're doing so. But it should happen because players want to do it, not because they have to. Steve Smith made a huge error in judgement, but Smith's not a bad person. But is it the punishment that has amplified the problem. He made a mistake but I think he has been punished very harshly.
Can too much rule-setting result in dumbing down freedom of expression?
We live in a world that's increasingly becoming politically correct. And what we want to see from sportsperson is them being real. We want to see their emotions, see them playing with freedom, expressing themselves. We don't want to see them conforming.
It seems Australia are still looking for the next Shane Warne. Do you think they should stop?
England, for a very long time, were looking for the next Ian Botham. India kept looking for the next Sachin. Let people be themselves. I think Australia have a very good spinner in Nathan Lyon. He's doing a great job. When people say things like that -looking for the next Warne- what they actually mean is "We want a character. We want somebody who brings fun to the game, makes it entertaining", I always wanted to do that. Be an entertainer.
What’s one rule that you want changed in cricket?
Take away the on-field umpire's decision on DRS and if you don't bowl your overs in time, the captain missed two games (introduce it). You've got 90 overs in a day, if you miss them, the captain misses the next two games after that one.
One Australian cricketer you have set high hopes on?
From all forms of cricket I see back in Australia, the one player I really admire is Pat Cummins. I love the way he goes about and he's a great story in the way he's come back from injuries. So, the hard work is paying off.
Who according to you are the favourites to win the World Cup?
I really believe Australia can win it again. As we have the players for the conditions, match winners etc. I think England & India go in as hot favourites, but if the selectors play their part - then the Aussies can 100% win.
What was the highlight of your cricket career?
While there have been many deliveries and wickets over the years that have meant a lot to me for different reasons, it is impossible to go past the “Gatting Ball” back in 1993, as it literally changed my life.
Do you think the progress of Australian cricket has slowed down?
I think we’re struggling. Pretty ordinary at the moment. To me, I think Cricket Australia is devaluing Shield cricket. I don’t think there are enough first-class cricketers getting into school cricket and inspiring people and talking to young boys and girls to say ‘cricket’s a great game and this is why’, teaching them techniques. I’d like to see first-class cricketers getting down to schools, I’d like to see them playing club cricket. I’d like to see international players playing domestic Shield cricket — and playing because they love it and they want to give something back to the game. I know it’s hard but they’ve got to do it. They just have to do it for the longevity and success of Test cricket in Australia and that Australian cricket remains strong.
Do you think Test cricket is dying?
I don’t think Test cricket is dying. I think there’s a lot more interest on the TV side of things than attending at the ground. I think in England and Australia (it’s) still very, very strong with people attending the venue where the Test matches are, but around the world there’s a lot more eyeballs watching on TV. I think as long as the superstar players like the Virat Kohlis say that Test cricket is the pinnacle, and that they wants to achieve things in the Test match arena, and he’s leading the way in that, then I think it will always stand there.
Will players play Test cricket if T20 leagues offer them much more money?
We have to trust the players that they want to play Test cricket. It’s very easy to take the money and go into the Twenty20 side of things, and I don’t begrudge any player doing that, but I hope that when we look back in 10-15 years’ time, we say, 'Wasn’t it great that all these players still loved Test cricket?' Because it is the hardest form. If you play for five days, the best team will always win.
You have had high praise for Nathan Lyon and almost see him as your direct heir in the Australian side. Do you think he still has room for improvement or is he a complete bowler?
I think he needs to develop more. The key in Test match cricket is being patient and bowling ball after ball after ball. He just needs to develop a faster one or a top spinner or something that goes the other way (doosra) to be successful in this form of the game.
What are your opinions on batsmen innovating and playing risky shots?
I’m all for innovation and trying things and putting the bowler off and all those things. But I think there’s a time and a place to use them. When your team’s under pressure and you’re trying to reverse lap and all these really difficult shots in a tough situation – I think you’ve got to go back to basics and build a partnership. If you do it no matter the situation, I think that’s reckless. I think it’s a cop out to say that’s the way I play.
With the rise of Joe Root alongside the likes of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, what can England do to help Root perform to his fullest capabilities?
I think Joe Root is England’s best player. But he’ll be disappointed with his conversion rate when it comes to hundreds. He’d love to have more hundreds to be able to be spoken about in the same sentences as Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. I like Joe Root, he has a good manner about himself. He’s a gentleman. Maybe England could think about their best player having the shackles off, not having the responsibility of captaincy, and give it to someone like Jos Buttler. Jos could play with his freedom and captain the side, and Joe could just concentrate on his cricket. If he totally 100 per cent concentrates on his cricket, his batting and nothing else, then maybe we might see Joe Root become the best batsman in the world. He’s got the talent to do it.
Tell us what the Ashes means to you.
Oh, jeez! Yeah, well I’ve been very lucky to have played in so many wonderful series, you know? I only lost the one series, in 2005 when England were fantastic and deserved to win. That was an unbelievable series for so many reasons but what stands out even now was the spirit of cricket, and the camaraderie – I think that’s why it really captured the public’s imagination, because of the camaraderie, and the sportsmanship and skill that was on display. So yeah, that one was a great series to be involved in.
What are you standout Ashes moments?
I guess the ‘94/95 series sticks out. That first Test at Brisbane. We didn’t enforce the follow on, which was quite a big decision 20-odd years ago, and there was quite a bit of pressure on us as a team, with and Hick going pretty well in their second innings. So to come out and get the job done with my best spell of eight-fer felt pretty good; I should have got a hat-trick there – I bowled a wrong ‘un to Phil Tufnell that bounced over middle stump, which was disappointing! And that was the game when I set Alec Stewart up with a flipper for one of my favourite dismissals.
What are the basics of spin bowling that youngsters should know?
What angle should a bowler release the ball at for the best result?
What kind of a mentality did you bowl with?
How does a spin bowler get the better of a batsman?
How do you bowl a leg break?
What advice would you give to young spin bowlers?
You’ve said time and again that you have great respect for Ian Chappell and he did a lot for you throughout your career. When was the first time you met him?
How did 'ball of the century' changed your life ?
“I was 23 when that happened. I remember going to the Windmill Pub in London, we were staying at the Westbury Hotel 100 yards up the road ... and I went for a pint with Merv (Hughes),” “And when I came out there was, without a word of a lie, probably 25-30 photographers just taking pictures. The next day was about ‘Shane Warne was at the pub’. I was getting critiqued about what I was wearing, I had ‘10 things you don’t know about Shane Warne’ and I’m reading it going, ‘that’s not true, I didn’t know that about me!’” The 50-year-old talked about his past controversies in episode four of ‘A Week With Warnie’ on Fox Cricket. “I didn’t really understand how it worked when I had to read these things about myself that weren’t true which was quite tough to take,”. “You don’t want to spend your life worrying about that stuff, but I did. I worried. I was like, ‘that’s not what I’m like’. So I found that I didn’t understand how it (the media) worked and I resented it.” He admitted that he behaved in “a sort of arrogant, pretty ordinary fashion all the time.” “I live in the moment so sometimes you don’t think about the consequences and that was probably most of my trouble. I didn’t think what the consequences were or what effect it would have on other people. “It was a selfish thing. I did what I wanted to do, and that got me into a bit of trouble,”