Shane Warne lists his most favourite batsman from each opposing nation
Affectionately called the ‘King of Spin’ for bamboozling numerous top batsmen throughout the 90s and early 2000s, Australian icon Shane Warne has chosen the best from all opposing Test nations.
In a video posted on his official Facebook account (collaboration with Sky Sports), the leg-spinner looked back at the stand-out batsmen whom he had bowled to. He picked Sachin Tendulkar as his premier on-field opponent citing the right-hander’s adaptability.
Warne quipped, “To me, Sachin was the best batsman of my generation. A wonderful player all round – to fast bowlers, spinners, in all conditions. Navjot Singh Sidhu was one of the most violent players of spin bowling and used to whack you out of the park. So, he was another good player from India against spinners.”
India were the only team who regularly tested Warne in his heydays. Including matches both home and away, the showman could only manage 43 wickets from 14 Tests at an average of 47.18 against them as opposed to a sub 30 average versus every other country.
Moving on to arch rivals England, the 46-year old decided to opt for the talismanic Graham Gooch who is the second highest run-getter from his country. While hailing Jack Kallis’ credentials as an all-rounder, he surprisingly chose Hansie Cronje as South Africa’s finest in both Tests and ODIs.
From New Zealand, Warne had no hesitation in rooting for ICC Hall of Famer Martin Crowe despite not featuring in the latter’s peak years. On the close competition between Sachin and Brian Lara, he lauded the southpaw’s ability to sustain the pressure of a fourth innings chase.
Warne enthused, “Arguably, some people think (Lara was) better than Tendulkar. And at times, he probably was. But, he definitely was the best left-hander of my time. If you needed someone to win 400 on the last day of a Test match, you probably want Lara to bat for you. Great player and a good friend.”
Among Pakistanis, he selected the elegant Saeed Anwar while Sri Lanka's Aravinda de Silva was too hard to overlook. Mentioning de Silva’s heroics in the 1996 World Cup, Warne heaped praise on the stroke maker’s nimble footwork.
Though he acknowledged Andy Flower’s prowess with the bat, the Victorian preferred the gritty Dave Houghton who has a Test highest of 266. The wrist-spinner rounded off the list by including Bangladesh’s Mohammad Ashraful.
Shane Warne’s Picks
India – Sachin Tendulkar
England – Graham Gooch
New Zealand – Martin Crowe
West Indies – Brian Lara
South Africa – Hansie Cronje/Jacques Kallis
Pakistan – Saeed Anwar
Sri Lanka – Aravinda de Silva
Zimbabwe – David Houghton
Bangladesh – Mohammad Ashraful