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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 10:44 GMT
Gatting salutes spin wizard Warne
SK Warne in jubilant mood again
Fittingly Warne took the wicket that regained the Ashes in Perth
Former England captain Mike Gatting believes cricket may never witness another spinner like Shane Warne again.

Gatting, on the wrong end of Warne's 'ball of the century' leg-break at Old Trafford in 1993, said: "I am still asked about it regularly.

"I suppose I can say that I was there at the moment he first indicated his potential to the wider world.

"Like Ian Botham, he has worked hard and he has played hard. We may not see his like again."

Warne, currently with 699 Test wickets, will quit Test cricket after the fifth Ashes match in Sydney.

Gatting added: "Thanks to him, there are many more leg-spinners in the game.

"People talk about how much he has done for Australia, but he has done an awful lot for the sport as a whole."

Commentator and former Australia captain Richie Benaud said Warne's departure would leave a void.

"People keep telling me there are plenty of leggies down the road, but they're not experienced enough.

"They haven't been given the opportunities - I think there's going to be a big gap," he said.

Warne's former coach and mentor, Terry Jenner, told BBC Five Live: "When he bowled Gatting (in 1993) he rejuvenated Test cricket. He revolutionised spin bowling by his accuracy. He will be sadly missed.

"I remember the first ball he bowled for me when we first met. I issued an expletive, finishing with 'me'!

"I just couldn't believe how much it had turned and spun.

"He was a novice then and there was a lot of water under the bridge before he became the great Shane Warne.

"He had enormous talent and you would have had to have been blind not to have seen it. But the finished product has been awesome."

New Zealand great Sir Richard Hadlee said the sport would not be the same after Warne's departure.

"A lot of batsmen in world cricket will be delighted to learn he's leaving the game, but I think the game will be poorer without him."

"He has been a match-winner, flamboyant and just incredible to watch."

Damien Fleming, a fellow World Cup winner in 1999, said: "He is one of the greatest cricketers of all time and we will never see his like again."

England's Paul Collingwood, who was dismissed by Warne on his Ashes debut in 2005, said: "In cricketing terms he is the ultimate legend. He's probably the best bowler there has ever been on this planet.

Mark Taylor, Australia captain from 1994-99, said the spin wizard's larger-than-life character is key to his success.

"Not only is he a great bowler but he's also a great thinker," he said. "He got a lot of people out with wonderful deliveries but also out-thought a lot."

Former selector Allan Border, who skippered Warne when he first emerged in dramatic fashion during the Ashes tour of England in 1993, thought the match-winner could still play on for several seasons.

"It's just caught everyone by surprise," Border said. "He's in superb touch, he's bowling well, physically he's very well.

"I just got the inkling that he was even considering one more tilt at England in England and that would see him out."

Border was also captain when Warne made his Test debut against India at Sydney in January 1992 and recalled: "There was something special about him, right from the word go."

Former Aussie paceman Geoff Lawson was also surprised by the decision and felt Warne could have broken even more records.

"I thought he still had a couple of years left in him and I thought he was good for a thousand Test wickets," Lawson said.

"Without Shane Warne, Australia would not be 3-0 up in the [current] series.

"They might have won one but they wouldn't have won in Adelaide or Perth without him and if he's going to go out then I suppose it's best to go out on a high."

Australia selector Merv Hughes, another former team-mate of Warne, joined the tributes.

"Whatever you say about Shane Warne it isn't enough," Hughes said.

"There are memories all through his career, most people go through a purple patch and Shane Warne has had a purple patch for 15 of 16 years."



SEE ALSO
Warne tipped to end Test career
20 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
England were ready - Collingwood
20 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Australia aim for Ashes whitewash
19 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Ruthless Aussies regain the Ashes
18 Dec 06 |  The Ashes


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