The cricketing world is in shock after learning that the legendary Shane Warne passed away suddenly on Friday, March 4, 2022.
One of the finest bowlers of all time, Warne made a whole generation fall in love with cricket.
Warne made his Test debut against India in 1992. He finished with a huge tally of 708 wickets in 145 Tests and was an integral part of Australia's dominating show in Test cricket for a decade-and-a-half, while also leading Rajasthan Royals to the inaugural IPL title in 2008.
Rajneesh Gupta presents the memorable moments from Warne's glittering career:
Ball of the century
Australia were in a bit of bother against England in the opening match of the 1993 Ashes series in Manchester when Warne came on to bowl for the very first time in an Ashes Test.
England knew next to nothing about this slightly rotund, peroxide-haired 23 year old from Victoria, who had hardly done anything of note in his career of two Tests. All this was about to change with his first-ever delivery against the old enemy.
Facing Warne was England's senior batter Mike Gatting -- a renowned player of spin bowling.
Gatting was done in by one of the best deliveries of all time produced by a bowler, who would go on take spin bowling to a different level altogether in the years to come.
The ball landed about a foot outside Gatting's leg stump and he did not offer a shot, believing it would thud into the wicket-keeper's gloves behind his legs.
But to his horror, the ball turned viciously off the rough outside the leg-stump and spun a big way to crash into top of his off-stump as Gatting could only watch in utter disbelief.
Perplexed, Gatting thought that wicket-keeper Ian Healy had dislodged the bails, before he started his walk back to the pavilion with a look of total confusion written all over his face.
That delivery, which called as the 'ball of the century', set the tone of the series as Australia went on to win the series 4-1, with Warne ending with 34 wickets in the series -- the most from either side.
When Warne sent England crashing
Warne, who had held England's batsmen spellbound from the moment he bowled Gatting at Old Trafford in 1993, was again the executioner, taking three for 39 and eight for 71 -- his best analysis in first-class cricket.
It was not until the final innings, though, that he made his presence felt, at the Gabba in Brisbane in 1994.
Despite remaining ahead in the Test for most of the time, it looked as if Australia would squander the opportunity and let off England with a draw as the visitors fought back remarkably in their second innings.
However, Warne -- with his best figures in first-class cricket -- sent England crashing to defeat as he took six for 27 off 25.2 overs on the final day.
Hat-trick at the MCG
Warne claimed the first hat-trick of his career during the Boxing Day Test against England at the MCG in 1994.
Phil Defreitas, Darren Gough and Devon Malcolm were dismissed off successive deliveries by the spin great.
Defreitas was ruled out LBW to one that skidded through before Gough fell caught behind, while Malcolm was brilliantly caught off the gloves by David Boon at short leg, who dived two feet to his right to scoop up a low half-chance.
Warne powers Aussies into 1996 World Cup final
Batting first, Australia made a below-par 207 for eight. In reply, the West Indies were on course for victory at 165 for two after 41 overs, needing only 43 runs from the last nine.
The game was still very much in the West Indies' grasp as Richie Richardson had held up one end brilliantly.
But Warne turned the game on its head as he weaved his magic with the ball, running through the West Indies line-up in a three-over spell.
Warne first got Otis Gibson caught behind, before he trapped Jimmy Adams lbw and followed it up with the dismissal of Ian Bishop as the West Indies slipped to 194/8.
What seemed to be a walk in the park became mission impossible as panic overtook the West Indies and they eventually lost the game by 5 runs.
Warne won named the man of the match for his brilliant spell of 4/36.
Warne shines in Australia's World Cup triumph
In the 1996 World Cup, Warne played an important part in Australia's sensational win in the semis against West Indies. However, he failed to deliver in the all-important final against Sri Lanka.
But Warne made amends in the 1999 World Cup.
South Africa were well on their way to secure a place in the final after restricting Australia to 213.
The game was slipping away from Australia as South Africa coasted to 48 for no loss before Warne entered the picture.
In the space of three overs, he literally turned the game Australia's way, taking three wickets to wrestle the momentum back to Steve Waugh's men before the dramatic turns of events saw the game ending in a thrilling tie.
Warne ended with figures of 4/29 as Australia advanced to the final.
In the title clash, he bamboozled Pakistan with his leg-spin as Pakistan were dismissed for a paltry 132, turning the event into a non-contest.
Riding on Warne's figures of 4/33, Australia won the final without much fuss, with Warne being adjudged man of the match.
Warne smashes his way to 99
Warne had always believed that he was a better batter than his numbers suggested, but no one took him seriously.
That perception changed somewhat after the Test match against New Zealand at Perth in 2001.
Batting first, New Zealand posted a mammoth 534/9.
Australia kept losing wickets at regular intervals and looked set to suffer the ignominy of a follow-on when Warne came out to bat on 192 for six.
Warne took on the Kiwi bowlers, smashing his way to his highest score in first-class cricket, scoring 99 of 159 for the last four wickets.
Unfortunately, in his haste to reach his maiden century with a big hit, Warne was caught off Daniel Vettori.
Replays later showed that Vettori had clearly overstepped and it was a no-ball!
When Warne bamboozled Pakistan
The way Shane Warne bamboozled Pakistan's famed batting line-up right through their series in 2002 was just brilliant.
The series was supposed to be played in Pakistan, but had to be relocated to neutral venues for security reasons with Colombo hosting the first Test and Sharjah the next two.
Warne went on to enjoy a vintage series, taunting the Pakistanis with his sleight of hand and taking 27 wickets.
13 of his wickets were LBWs, evidence of the effectiveness of his 'slider', a new delivery that skidded straight on.
Pakistan competed till the end in the first Test, but were beaten by Warne's genius.
Needing just 86 to win on the last morning, with six wickets in hand, Pakistan went down by 42 runs, with Warne taking 7/94 and 4/94.
The next two Tests at Sharjah were a nightmare for Pakistan as they suffered heavy innings defeats.
Warne was again wrecker-in-chief, picking up eight wickets in each of the two Tests. His series tally of 27 wickets (average 12.66) was and remains the highest by an Australian bowler in a three-match series.
Warne does a Gatting against Strauss
Twelve years after the Gatting Ball, Warne produced a delivery of arguably equal brilliance to remove opening batsman Andrew Strauss on the evening of day two at Edgbaston in the 2005 Ashes.
The ball pitched so wide of the off-stump that Strauss attempted to pad the ball away, only to be left dumbfounded as it spun viciously into the stumps.
Warne bowls Australia to unlikely win
England had scored 551/6 in the first innings and though Australia replied back strongly, a draw seemed the most likely outcome when the fifth and final day's play started in Adelaide in 2006.
England were ahead by 97 runs with nine wickets in hand, but an inspirational spell by Warne flipped the game on its head.
Warne started England's collapse by first dismissing well-set Andrew Strauss and then disturbing dangerous Kevin Pietersen's furniture.
As England were gripped by the panic, Warne took two more wickets, paving the way for an improbable Australian victory.
Warne finishes on a high
The script could not have been written better for Warne, who had announced his retirement a few days beforehand.
The Test was always going to be about the MCG's farewell to its favourite cricketing son.
More than 89,000 people came to witness Warne reach the magical milestone of 700 Test wickets.
It was not until 40th over that Warne got the chance to roll his arm, but the wait was very much worth it.
Off the second ball of his fourth over, Warne bowled Strauss off a ball that pitched outside his off-stump, spun massively and crashed into his timber leaving England's opener stunned and sending the crowd into a frenzy.
From 101/2, England crashed to 159 all out with Warne ending with another five-wicket haul.
Warne leads underdogs Royals to IPL title
Not many people were convinced that a 38-year-old retired cricketer deserved a place in the Rajasthan Royals squad, leave alone captaining the side when the franchise took a bet on him during the inaugural IPL season in 2008.
'The greatest captain that Australia never had' as one journalist termed Warne as, showed his brilliant captaincy and man-management skills and turned a group of unknown young players in to champions in the inaugural IPL.
How Warne did it is now a part of folklore and subject of research studies.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com