It was the ball that rocketed Shane Warne to stardom, but the Aussie cricket legend has made a surprise admission about that ‘ball of the century.’
Warne made the cricket world sit up and take notice after the most remarkable first ball in England that a young Aussie could imagine.
With England batsman Mike Getting at the crease, a 23-year-old Warne was thrown the ball at Old Trafford in 1993 for his first ever delivery in an Ashes series.
Unbeknownst to everyone at the time, what happened next would go down in cricket history and launch Warne into a stratospheric realm of sports superstardom.
The young Aussie leggy looped the ball way outside Getting’s leg stump, where it hit a patch of rough and spun wickedly off the pitch in the opposite direction.
Getting watched in utter disbelief as the ball went from outside leg stump to clipping the top of his off-stump.
While many good judges have heralded it as the greatest ball of the 20th century, Warne has made a startling admission about the delivery.
“It was a fluke. I never did it again. I never bowled anything like that ever, first ball to take a wicket.”
Warne was speaking on The ABC’s 7:30 Report on Tuesday night to promote his new book No Spin, describing the delivery as “the perfect leg-break.”
Officials devaluing Shield cricket
During his interview, the Aussie great took aim at Cricket Australia over a number of issues – one of which being the profile of Sheffield Shield cricket.
Warne suggested Australian cricket is currently struggling and much of the problem lies not at international level but the competitions below.
“In any business you need the foundations to be strong. The foundation of Australian cricket has always been grassroots cricket, club cricket and first-class cricket,” Warner said.
“To me, I think Cricket Australia is devaluing Shield cricket.
“I’d like to see international players playing Shield cricket.
“And playing because they love it and they want to give something back to the game.”
The leg-spin legend also slammed Cricket Australia for its decision to slap a 12-month ban on sacked skipper Steve Smith following the ball-tampering furore.
“Steve Smith is a good person. He made a silly mistake, an error in judgment. I think in this country we’re too quick to hang people and just nail them,” he said.
“I don’t think the punishment fitted the crime.
“A 12-month ban that equated to about an $8-10 million fine. I thought they were very, very, very hard done by and it was a very harsh penalty.”