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Former Australian cricketer Shane Warne is widely regarded as one of the greatest spin bowlers of all time. The 145-Test veteran made his international debut in 1992 and remained his country’s primary spin option for the next decade-and-a-half. Apparently, his first Test victim, India’s current head coach Ravi Shastri, once made a prediction about how many Test wickets the Australian leg-spinner will end up getting in his career before retirement.
In June 2018, Ravi Shastri interacted with Gaurav Kapur on his Oaktree Sports’ Show Breakfast with Champions. During the interaction, Kapur talked about Shane Warne and asked the former Indian all-rounder how did he manage to tackle the legendary Australian spinner in his debut Test. The match in consideration is the Sydney Test of 1992 between hosts Australia and the visiting Indian team.
Ravi Shastri said that he stepped out and used his feet many times against Shane Warne as he believes it’s the “best way to play spin”. Years after watching the Australian in action for the first time, the Indian coach said the leg-spinner bowled very few loose deliveries and showed “unbelievable control” over line and length while bowling to him as well as to then 19-year-old Sachin Tendulkar. According to Ravi Shastri, it was a challenging task to perform for Shane Warne because of the contrasting heights of the two batsmen. Impressed by the leg-spinner, Shastri made a prediction back then that Shane Warne would definitely end up collecting somewhere between 250 to 300 Test wickets before pulling down curtains on his career.
On Shane Warne’s debut, both Ravi Shastri and Sachin Tendulkar plundered big centuries and were involved in a 196-run partnership. While Shastri scored his career-best 206, the ‘Little Master’ scored an attacking 148. Interestingly, Shane Warne went head-to-head with Sachin Tendulkar many times throughout his career thereafter, with the Indian batsman trumping his Australian rival on many occasions.
The Shane Warne wickets tally in international cricket comprises of some staggering numbers. In 145 Tests, the leg-spinner ended up exceeding Ravi Shastri’s expectations by more than 400 wickets. He bagged 708 wickets and is currently the second-highest wicket-taker in the world in the longest format of the game. Additionally, the Shane Warne wickets section in ODIs includes 293 victims. Overall in his entire international career, the Shane Warne wickets inventory comprises of 1,001 scalps.
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