All at Edgbaston today share the shock and sadness at the shattering news that Shane Warne has passed away.
The great Australian leg-spinner, who has died aged 52, leaves a cricketing legacy of a magnitude matched by few other players in the history of the game.
Warne took 708 Test wickets at 25.41 runs apiece with spin-bowling of immense skill, delivered with a passion and charisma that made him one of the biggest stars not just in cricket but in the world of sport.
Edgbaston crowds were privileged to witness his skills on numerous occasions. He played four Ashes Tests in Birmingham – 1993, 1997, 2001 and the Greatest Test in 2005. In those four games he took 25 wickets (including three five-fors) at 21.76.
He also played – and was man-of-the-match – in one of the great one-day matches in Edgbaston’s history, Australia’s World Cup semi-final against South Africa in 1999. After Australia batted first, Warne struck a breezy 18 which gave his side much-needed late impetus and took them to 213. He then tore the heart out of the Proteas’ top order by dismissing four of the top six on his way to 10-1-29-4.
Warne also played at Edgbaston for his county side, Hampshire. He played three County Championship matches against the Bears – two at Edgbaston and one at Stratford-upon-Avon. In the latter contest, in 2005, the Bears won by ten wickets inside two days despite Warne’s first innings haul of six-for-88, which included the wicket of Jim Troughton, bowled by a ball which, the batsman later recalled, “spun both ways, lifted and kept low.”
The following season, on his first Championship appearance at Edgbaston, Warne bagged a first-innings five-for, his victims again including Troughton, though this time not before the batsman scored a century.