Colin Bryden

Warne’s great flight of fancy

2010-03-18 09:21
Sport24 columnist Colin Bryden (File)
Colin Bryden

You’ve got to love Shane Warne. No hyperbole is too outrageous for him to utter.

After his Rajasthan Royals team lost, repeat LOST, an IPL match against the Mumbai Indians, Warne claimed that Yusuf Pathan’s 37-ball century for the losers was the best innings he had seen in a 21-year career.

This from a man who has bowled while Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar have made classic Test centuries and who couldn’t stop VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid when they compiled one of the great partnerships of all time to set up a famous Indian victory in Kolkata in 2001.

Not to mention some of the great Australian batsmen he played with – from Allan Border and the Waugh brothers through to Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting.

I can even think of a few handy South African performances which Warne witnessed at first hand - Hansie Cronje’s blistering one-day and Test centuries at the Wanderers back in 1993/94 and Jacques Kallis’s match-saving century at Melbourne four years later.

And then there was Yusuf Pathan.

It was a thrilling innings, which included a sequence of 11 successive balls (excluding wides) which went to and over the boundary for 54 runs – three sixes off Ali Murtaza (who’s he?), 6-4-4-6-4 off Rajugopal Satish and three fours off Ryan McLaren, who at least we know is a decent bowler.

He scored just two runs off two balls from Zaheer Khan and six off five from Lasith Malinga, Mumbai’s best bowlers.

Great? I can just imagine Warne saying it, fixing his interviewers with those dazzling blue eyes and mustering the passionate sincerity he has mastered in a thousand press conferences.

Great? In the lexicon of the IPL perhaps, where commentators do their best to convince us we are watching great cricket when much of it is dross – exciting and entertaining but dross nevertheless.

Great? Yusuf Pathan is an exciting hitter but not even Warne can convince me he is anywhere close to being a great player.

Pathan was out for nought in his next innings.

Colin Bryden is a former cricket correspondent of the Sunday Times and current editor of the Mutual & Federal South African Cricket Annual

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


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