March 4, 2022, I felt a part of my childhood was taken away from me when the news of the passing away of the World’s best spinner, Shane Warne. People might argue with me on the title of best spinner ever, but I agree to disagree with them. When Healy or Gilly yell “bowling Shane” you know some magic is happening and more to come. Warne was a special cricketer and great analyst of the game who played the game with great pride and passion second to none. There is a lot to learn from Warne’s career and personality and here is my take on how he has left a lasting impression on the youngsters and professionals across the globe.
The Fan Moment: Though Warne made a huge mark on the cricketing circles with the Ball of the century to Mike Gatting, I started following Warne with more curiosity during the 1998 Australia tour of India. Sachin Tendulkar, the batting genius, whom I thought could play anyone on any given day made special preparations to face Warne speaks volumes of this wizard. I remember the first time I saw him live he dismissed Sachin cheaply for 4 and I cursed him for spoiling the day. Every time Warne bowled I used to bite my nails or hold my heart, because this genius could cause serious damage. Cut to 2004 Chepauk(MA Chidambaram Stadium) erupted in joy when he dismissed Irfan Pathan to move past Muralidharan to become the then world record holder. This shows the kind of respect and adulation that spectators and rival teams had for Warne.
A leader without the title, Shane Warne was easily the best leader who never captained Australia. It might have been partly because of his off-field antics but he never shied away from taking up the leadership role and speaking his mind to his captains. His captains speak so high of the inputs and ideas he brought to the table. For him, the title did not matter, winning as a team mattered which brought joy to millions of Australians. Every professional should think about what contribution do they bring to the team and the value they help deliver to the customer/users and not worry much about the title. By doing this, the title and the rewards will find their way to you.
“Part of the art of bowling spin is to make the batsman think something special is happening when it isn’t“Courtesy: Cricket Australia. Not indented for copyright infringement.
Planning and Execution go hand in hand. Good planning should be backed up by an equally good execution to get the right results. Warne was good at planning and great at the execution of his trade. This video is a sample of how much he analyzes his opponents and plans his moves. The clarity of thought and the way he went about his execution were phenomenal. As professionals, we plan, create roadmaps but we also need to ensure that the execution and performers are empowered to perform the tasks. Execution should not be tied to the success or failure of the product. It is what you learn from the success or failure and how you build on top of it, which Warne did throughout his career.
KISS & Repeat – Keeping it simple, straightforward and repeat. Such was his bowling action. I might be right to assume that anyone who started bowling leg-spin mimicked his action. The reason, it was simple, straightforward and repeatable. When your actions adhere to this principle, it is easily understood and allows us to sense how people react to them. When we keep things simple, they tend to be robust, the probability of getting things right is high and there are fewer moving parts. In totality, simplicity leads to high accuracy, increased reliability, and higher productivity.
“Work hard, have fun and make history“attributed to Jeff Bezos
Hard work was his mantra. Warne worked hard, in fact, he had to work so hard that he had to fight and take most of his wickets on pitches that did not suit spin bowling. Add to that he had to tussle with legends of the game like Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Merv Hughes, Jason Gillespie to name a few. More than 500 wickets on not so helpful conditions required hard and smart work. Warne had fun going about his job. He cherished every moment he played and loved entertaining the crowd. In the process, he ended up making history.
A champion is remembered. A legend is never forgotten. Warne will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Rockstar.