Thursday, December 21, 2006

Change of Guard

So Shane Warne and (it is rumored that) Glenn McGrath will announce their retirement at the end of this Ashes series. Warne is probably the best bowler I have seen in my lifetime (tied at #1 with Curtly Ambrose). He is the quintessential leg spinner. I dont think anyone has better defined the art of leg spin bowling than Warne. Whats more awesome about Warne is that he was a complete entertainer. Every time he started his mini-famous-run up of his, he gave a feeling that he could weave magic into the game and turn around any situation. It was a delight to watch him because he had the agression of a fast bowler, the grace and beauty of a classic leg spinner and the tactical ability of a military general. He is the best spinner this world has ever seen and it is really sad that in sometime the despicable 'chuck'dharan will go on to hold the test wicket record. On the whole, it is our fortune to have lived during the playing time of Warne and Mcgrath, especially Warne. His stuff against the Windies is the best he has bowled so far. He was really at his peak in the 1990s especially between 92-97 seasons until his 96/97 injury breakdown. It is unfortunate that India never played tests against Austalia for close to 7 years (91/92 - 97/98) and in Australia (91/92 - 99/00) for close to a decade - especially during Warne's peak.

Here is an excellent video of Warne's best 8 wickets. I remember watching most of these games. Especially the one against West Indies. WI were playing poorly and I guess this was the first time in many years they lost a series to Australia. Chanderpaul and Lara were really defying Warne. Chanderpaul scored against Warne by mainly cutting against the spin. He kept on rocking back and cutting Warne against the tremendous spin that Warne was generating. It was almost incredible because Warne was turning the ball square and this fellow was purely surviving on luck. And then Warne bowled a beast which didn't allow Chanderpaul to go back and cut at all. It was one of my favorite series because all Windies had to do was put some runs on the board and Ambrose would have won the game for them. They just couldnt do it. It was a complete contrast to the 92/93 series where Ambrose could take 7/1 and win the series against Australia. (Note: Listen to the great Richie Benaud's comments on the background. It is so fortunate that Benaud happened to comment when Warne bowled the 'ball of the century' - while a buffoon like Sidhu would have screamed and slobbered like a fool - all Ritchie says after a silence is "he's done it". Also listen to what Benaud has to say after the Basit Ali dismissal and compare it with how Warne introduced us to that wicket. Man! what a commentator :-). )

And who will forget his duels against Cullinan, his biggest bunny ever. I have never enjoyed cricket like the way I have enjoyed when Australia bullied and mauled South Africa. And Cullinan was a joke against Warne. The taps, the familiar drumming by the corwd, and the baying-for-blood that began everytime Warne bowled to Cullinan was simply awesome. It was a classic case of psychological Vodoo that Warne did. His wicket of Herschille Gibbs in the WC 99 Semi Finals was much better than that Gatting ball. It just pumped up the team like crazy and got every Australian fired up. I never cared for his off-field antics, or his multiple women issues. I thought he wouldnt be warne if he didnt do all those. The part of his psyche that made him the best bowler was the same part that made him sledge, and behave like a casanova. He was a package set. If he were dour, disciplined and straight, he'd be Venktapathy Raju and not Shane Warne. (Next Video: Warne's Hatrick - the last days of David Boon doing his thing at Forward Shortleg. The 3rd wicket was so similar to harbhajan's 3rd wicket in Eden Gardens)

Glenn Mcgrath

ooh - aah Glen Mcgrath
oohAah Glenn Mcgrath.

He comes in does his famous excercise routine, while fans sing the 'ooh aah Glenn McGrath' song. The same elbow stretch, leg pull and then he would run in and bowl the first ball of a test match right in the 'corridor of uncertainity' as if he were bowling his 20th over. Seam up, high bounce and just mean.

Anybody who has, among his bunnies - Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Mike Atherton has to be awesome. Tendulkar has never been so technically incapable and struggle so poorly against any bowler - except McGrath. McGrath can be clearly declared as the winner of that battle. The one day tri-series that India played down under in 99/2000 was a joke. Sachin couldn't middle a single McGrath delivery. The Mumbai test of 2001, which I believe is one of Sachin's best innings, was the closest he came to defy McGrath but he never dominated McGrath the way McGrath dominated him.

This whole sequence of Sachin nibbling the ball behind has happened so many times.

Lara has at times dominated McGrath (more than what Tendulkar has done) but the reverse has been true more number of times. He simply got out too many time against Mcgrath and only very few of them were to poor strokes. McGrath, to me, was the quintessiantial fast bowler. Full of confidence. No conversation on Mcgrath or Warne would be complete if we didnt talk about their sleding ways. Their approach cricket was awesome and same cant be said about the wusses who complained against them. Whats thrilling about Mcgrath was he would put himself on the firing line and predict that he would get someone out. And he has not embarassed himself that many times. His success rate in acheiiving this is probably the highest anyone can imagine to acheive. My special McGrath-predictions were those involving Lara, Tendulkar (in 1999) and his 299, 300, 301st wicket and his 500th wicket (he said before the series began as to who he thought would be his respective victims). Listen to the commentary when he gets his 300th wicket. When I was watching the match 'live' - Channel 9 had the common sense to show his interview (taken the day before where he spelt out how he had visualized his 299, 300, 301st victims) and the wickets side-by-side (the wickets fell the same order in which he spelt it out) for that 'aha' effect.

Mcgrath's destruction of England, especially his 8-for-something in a rain-washed Lords test was just awesome, and it is the closest comparison to Ambrose getting England for 42. On top of it he was really mean to the English. And I loved that. Ambrose was mean (and really scary) when he played England (both McGrath and Ambrose pretty much destroyed England) but you tended to like Ambrose for some reason (its amazing why Ambrose is liked so much) but Mcgrath was just verbally, physically and systematically mean. The opponents just hated him but couldnt deny that he was good.

Here is Ambrose's classic 7 wickets for 1 run. Awesome isn't it.

Australia will ofcourse overcome these 2 retirements and come up with another set of bowlers who will help them continue their 2 decade dominance of cricket. But these 2 will always be special. Their approach to cricket, their off field antics and their personalities have a lot to do with it as much as their talent.

Post Script:

Meanwhile here are some remixed videos of Shatakumaran Sreeshanth doing his thing. He is quite a character. I am simply taken in by his antics. I hope people don't read some stupid Gandhi book to him and spoil the agression in him. We need mean people like Mcgrath and Warne. He is much better off being a firebrand dude than 'i the only to be happi to bend over backwards for you' indian fast (medium) bowlers that we so famously keep churning out.


anantha said...

As the story goes, immediately after Warne made Cullinan his bunny, SA faced NZ in a test series and Adam Parore, who was the NZ keeper then, sledged Cullinan with a "Bowling Shane" whenever Cullinan played and missed during a spinner's over!

Hawkeye said...


ya! i remember that. it was very funny :-). the horrible thing was cullinan got those drummings from the crowd in south africa also. every time he got out it became even harder for him to come back. he tried everything. even hitting out randomly :-)

deepak said...

Here is a list of famous sledges that were documented. Some of them are laugh out funny.

deepak said...

Here is on of the funniest sledges

James Ormond had just come out to bat on an ashes tour and was greeted by Mark Waugh....... MW : "fleck me, look who it is. Mate, what are you doing out here, there's no way you're good enough to play for England" JO : "Maybe not, but at least i'm the best player in my family

Hawkeye said...

found this today

Not that there was ever a time when his mind wasn't a strong part of Warne's game. In late 1999 he was bowling round the wicket to Sourav Ganguly and he watched a few deliveries pass by harmlessly. "Hey mate," called out Warne, "this crowd didn't pay their money to watch you let balls go. They're here to see this fella [Sachin Tendulkar at the non-striker's end] play shots." A couple of overs later Ganguly was stumped off Warne's bowling trying to hit Warne out of the ground.

Anonymous said...

Ambrose & Warne are pure magic, supremen entertainers. Mcgrath is boring, clinical like machine.
Mcgrath is never in the same league as Ambrose or Warne, thanks for great videos, made my day

Anonymous said...

ok, smartass. You maybe a fan of Warne but that tasteless comment on Murali was stupid. He has been cleared by bio-mechanics experts. Natural bent of arm.Are you an expert in that field? Why cant you just accept the fact and get on with it. It just shows plain vayetherichal - you just want to sound like a non-partisan person from the sub-continent, dont you?
A majority of Warne's wickets are of sub-standars English, SA, NZ and WI batsman. He failed against the one opponent that counts when it comes to Spin bowling - remember Navjyot paaji's treatment to our man?
SO, no matter how much mud you try to sling on Murali just because he is a worthy rival to your idol, youa re going to end up with egg in your face. Keep saying Chuck till the cows come home.It wont take an iota away from Murali's greatness.
Maybe in 19th century you would have been a good gumastha under white masters and said "Thiagaraja-llam enna jujubee. Mozart dhaan great." COme out of your white-skin obsession

Anonymous said...

my best McGrath moment was when Ramnaresh Sarwan gave it back to him - what a classic that was! ANd our man didnt have the chutzpah to take it back as he gave. We all know how he reacted to that Sarwan jibe - adhavadhu naanga white pudungi eppadi vena sledge pannuvom - neengalam karuppu korangunga - kettutu irukkanum - mavane edhirthu pesina...
Typical Aussie cricketing bully!
I have no respect for this person.

(Yes, he was a great bowler no doubt)

Hawkeye said...

muralidharan chucks. his cricket board can bribe 50,000 bio mechanical experts and ask them to lie for them. his arm bends and straightens like a chucker. the bastard gets by because its a handicap and he doesnt do it deliberately.

even u have a huge handicap - mental retardedness - why dont u ask 3 mental doctors to testify for u and get into the indian team. this way u can violate the no ball rule (u can run until the strikers's crease and bowl). the umpire cant call ur bowling no-ball because u r mentally retaarded and its a con-geneital handicap and they shouldn't penalize u for that. I'll bring in 4 neuro science experts and say that you grey cell are bent 14 degrees as opposed to 8 degrees and so u should be allowed to bowl from the top of the strikers head.

about the 'white man' remarks. remembert rajesh chauhan. our great indian board kicked him out in no time for his 'suspect' action and they are running behind murali's as before anybody else has a chanace to lick it. why? because murali is more successful than chauhan. its not abaout action or any legitimacy.

one thing i hate more than murali's chucking is the 'stupid indian cricket fan'. cant appreciate good cricket - u want only indians to be called the best even if they have zero talent.

Anand said...


I had a stupid fanboy just like this anonymous argue for murali. I asked him to show the word "bio mechanical expert" in the ICC law book.

ROTFL on your comment on mental retardedness. Maybe some bowler would want to shit on the pitch because he has a birth defect of constant diohrrea. If he has a doctors certificate maybe the umpire should allow it.

Anonymous said...

Chucking or No-Chucking the Man can turn the ball on Glass or Water... LOL...

I bet some chuckers like Lee,Shoaib etal cant do that.. Shane Warne is a great Spinner no doubt... but the behaviour of the aussies as a whole is deplorable... I wouldnt take anything away from shane though... he has given us a lot of joy over the years..( If not for him We would not have seen BCL's 153* and Sachin's 155*).... :-)

Mcgrath is mean ... Again all these blokes are great induviduals... But in cricketing terms u have to term them as Yechais...

Anonymous said...

What about Chris Gayle Bantering to back to Michael Clarke... LOL??? That was funny too..


Anand said...

dear anonymous,

please kottify your vayatherichal even more.

enda dai.. anniki inniki athi poo pootha mathiri jeykara team'a support panra unakku ivalavu kozhuppu iruntha. daily jeikarangale avangulakku ennna kozhhupu irukkum.

Look at the examples u have quoted. Do you seriously think they are the exception or are they the rule?

Hawkeye said...

fight. fight.

I said...

enna dhan irundhalum chuckiah muralitharan oru thamizhan illaya.. :)

In 1995, when Glenn led "the weakest Australian team ever" to a historic series victory in the Carribean, that was something.

Aussies have been heavily dependent on Glenn McGrath. Missed him sorely last Ashes and when India drew a Test series in Australia 2003.

Anonymous said...

dear hawkeye, anand:
Look how civil you are just because I expressed a view contrary to yours. Your words speak for you guys. You guys know everything - ulagathile mathavan ellam kenaiyan. If a bio-mechanical expert expresses a view contrary to yours, he is bribed.

Chew on those thoughts and you'll know who is deluded. Murali?Bastard? Yeah, wonderful. Just because you believe he chukcs, you have to question his mother's morals (okay, dont take that literally - i know it just came to you and you didnt mean it - afterall, the Aussies use bastard liberally without meaning it, dont they)

And hello, just because I want to be called a great knowledgeble cricket fan, I wouldnt go out and lie that Warne is the greatest - chummma udhaar vudadheengapa.
And lastly, you could enjoy a sledge on others(CUllinan etc) but not a word on Sarwan's nethi adi to Glenn. Why? You couldnt stomach it?

Anonymous said...

anand, yeah, kozhuppu irukkum. Adhai justify pandraye, unakku arivu illai. Idhai thaan english kaaran(adhaanpa un favourite skin colour kaaran), Its not Cricketnu solluvan. Aussie fanship, Warne is greatnu ellam solra liberal fan nee - indha mukkiyamana vishayathai vuttuttiye appappo its not cricketnu sollanum un profile-ku. Oh1Sorry adhellam reserved for Sehwag, Parthiv Patel(andha lodukku pandi umpire-a threaten panninaam - Warne pandradhillyam- kadhula poo vechurkkuravnata sollu po!) illai?

Hawkeye said...


among the indian cricket fans there are sensible people who are not jingoistic and can say "india is wrong" when india is wrong. there are some jingoistic stupid fans who cry racism everytime a decision go against them. u represent the latter the typical loser flag waving indian fan that i hate. i cant be civil to you.

i said i like sledging and for ur convenience i cant list every single sledge for or against australia. u cant tolerate anybody liking an australian. u want everybody to support ur jingoistic view. u want everybody to hate australia and keep using this stupid sledging card to critisisze australia even if they have 10X better players than india. u are the wuz i was talking about in my blog.

Anonymous said...

If aussies are ready to give it they should be ready to take it. Which they are not.. In many instances they become little sissies and loose the game inevitably...

Sars -GLen and Clarke-Gayle are very good examples...

And for the White skin lovers Dont give the bullshit that Aussies are great Sportsmen.. they are not.. They are Professional and Ruthless and too good the way they play... Which is attributed to their system. They have no spirit whatsoever... they appeal knowing very well that its not out..

This talk about Gilly walking is Crap.. It was Lara who started it from the time he started batting.. Gilly has never walked prior to 2003 WC.

As I said before they might be nice blokes whom even if i meet will surely get an autograph and a picture but they are yechais when it comes to the cricket field...


Hawkeye said...


get a life. nobody said aussies were peerfect. if u want to make that argument when when it is not the topic u are a loser.

the topic of this blog is warne's retirement. it is not whether aussies are the best spotsmen or not. ur loser attitude will not even let u see that simple fact.

nowhere in the post was there any assertion made than "the aussies are fair and show the best sportsman ship etc".. why do u drag that topic into the conversation.

a typical loser indian fan would drag this sledging, fairness etc topic into any discussion. he will not care if it is relevant or not. you are that second category of indian fans. losers.

Hawkeye said...

and if not for ur tasteless and aggressive initial comment (abaout white ass licker ) I would not have gone aggressive on you.

so stop with ur moral lecture on propreity and decorum. u should have followed that in ur first comment.

i am pretty good reflecting the tone of each individual commentor. u used a nasty tone and u got the same tone back

Anonymous said...

What is ur argument then? The man has retired and what are all the points u would make... Both his positive and Negative points.... i have said that they are great while playing... but they are yechais... and add to it... I'm not ur typical indian fan... I'm a Caribbean fan... :-) So sleep over that...


tilotamma said...

sreesanth :-)

Hawkeye said...


welcome back :-) I hope u start blogging soon. but nice to see you.

tilotamma said...

no, I have retired too , just resurfacing for the holiday season...

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B a l a said...

hey...Curtly ambrose was an exceptional bowler with lot of character..I personally feel amby is full of energy , zeal than McGrath...
Amby's run up to the grease..his reaction to wickets or when he gets hit badly...its amazing.

Nice to see u hinting amby along with the gr8s.

Hawkeye said...


to me amrose was the best bowler of all time.

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Anon is a Spanner said...

Anonymous... What is wrong with you? You have just come in here shouting your racial rubbish and you sound like someone plauged with inferiority complexes.

And "white skin obsession"??? What is wrong with you racist bigots. It has nothing to do with colour. You are ignorant. We worship Tenduilkar, we love Lara, we adored Ambrose. Murali throws.

And you say warne got wickets against inferior teams? Surely a Murali fan CANT be so stupid as to try use that argument. You mention Eng, NZ, SOUTH AFRICA in your weak teams. HA HA HA all of those teams are better than Sri Lanka, and INdia. BOth Sril Lanka and India can play but they have no spirit. They could learn a lot from the Aussies. By the way, how many wickets does Murali have against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe? Seriously you really are a fn retard.

The rules of the game had to be altered to allow Murali to play. This proves his action WAS illeagal. Now it is legal under the new laws. His wickets shouldnt be counted prior to the change in laws.