He was at the receiving end of that ‘ball of the century’ that came to define Shane Warne’s wizardry and former England batter Mike Gatting says the Australian spin legend’s sudden death has been ‘absolutely devastating’ and he would always remember him as a man who had time to enjoy the game. (More Cricket News)
The now 64-year-old was left bamboozled by Warne’s immaculate craft on that day in 1993. The then 24-year-old Warne deceived Gatting at Old Trafford with a delivery that landed on the leg stump and, as the Englishman tried to defend, turned viciously to clip his off bail.
Warne, 52, died of a suspected heart attack on Friday in Koh Samui, Thailand, sending shockwaves around the cricketing world.
“Without a doubt, he is the number one ever. I should think there have been a lot of great cricketers, great spinners and great leg-spinners but Warnie will always be, certainly from my point of view, the number one,” Gatting told Sky Sports News.
“Absolutely devastating and I just feel so sad for his family. It is a huge loss to many, many people,” he added. Recalling the exuberant personality that was Warne even off the field, Gatting said the most striking aspect about the Australian maverick was his ability to make every moment joyful.
I am sure Mike Gatting has watched the Shane Warne “Ball of the Century” a 1000 times and still doesn’t know where it went. Graham Gooch said it looked like someone had stolen Gatting’s lunch 😂 #RIPWarne pic.twitter.com/PC0AM424QG— Richard (@richo_1973) March 4, 2022
“He had all the things a cricketer needed, a lot of self-confidence, a lot of ability, the discipline, passion and desire. Above all he had time to enjoy it. He had great fun playing cricket and resonated with a lot of youngsters.
“The inspirational leg-spin he bowled I am sure inspired many, many guys to take up leg-spin bowling,” he said. And about that ball that left him in disbelief, Gatting said Warne probably never expected it to turn as much.
“When it came down I knew it was a leg break but I didn't expect it to spin that much. When we often spoke about it, I am not sure he expected it to spin that much,” he said. “He said he just tried to get it down the other end the best he could. Well, it was a bit too good for me,” he recalled.