Mike Gatting pays emotional tribute to Shane Warne

Mike Gatting – who Shane Warne dismissed with his ‘ball of the century’ – pays an emotional tribute to his old Ashes foe as cricket’s ‘number one’ and an inspiration who will be sorely missed

  • Shane Warned died on Friday aged 52 of suspected heart attack
  • Australian legend took 708 Test wickets in 154 matches of extraordinary career
  • Warne dismissed Mike Gatting with the ‘ball of the century’ in the 1993 Ashes 
  • World of cricket paid tribute to leg-spin legend after premature death 

Mike Gatting hailed Shane Warne as cricket’s ‘number one’ after the death of the Australian great on Friday.

It was Gatting who faced Warne’s ball of the century at Old Trafford in the 1993 Ashes series, a delivery which catapulted the leg-spinner into stardom.

He would finish with 708 Test wickets, only second to Muttiah Muralitharan but his influence on Australia’s all-conquering side across several formats during a 15-year playing career contributed towards a legacy that inspired generations of cricketers.

Shane Warne dismissed Mike Gatting (right) with an incredible delivery in the 1993 Ashes

‘Absolutely devastating and I just feel so sad for his family. It is a huge loss to many, many people,’ Gatting told Sky Sports News.

‘Without a doubt, he is the number one ever. I should think there have been a lot of great cricketers, great spinners and great leg-spinners but Warnie will always be, certainly from my point of view, the number one.

‘He had all the things a cricketer needed, a lot of self-confidence, a lot of ability, the discipline, passion and desire.

Warne was one of England’s chief tormentors throughout several Ashes series 

The leg-spin maestro was part of the all-conquering Aussie team of the 1990s and 2000s

‘Above all he had time to enjoy it. He had great fun playing cricket and resonated with a lot of youngsters. 

‘The inspirational leg-spin he bowled I am sure inspired many, many guys to take up leg-spin bowling.’

Named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, it was Warne’s leg break that landed outside of Gatting’s leg stump which spun off the surface and hit the top of off stump almost 30 years ago that got the ball rolling for the Aussie against England.

Gatting said he was absolutely ‘devastated’ by Warne’s passing at the age of just 52

He claimed 195 Ashes scalps but his maiden wicket against his greatest rivals with his first ever ball in the series is still widely regarded as the moment leg-spin became fashionable again.

Gatting added: ‘When it came down I knew it was a leg break but I didn’t expect it to spin that much. When we often spoke about it, I am not sure he expected it to spin that much.

‘He said he just tried to get it down the other end the best he could. Well, it was a bit too good for me.’

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