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Weekend Read: Shane Warne and The Prestige

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What constitutes a commentator’s duty during a cricket match?

Is it to call the action as it is?

Is it to observe, analyse and interpret the action and concur respectively? (Not necessarily in the said order).

Or is it merely to provide valuable and technical inputs from an ex-cricketer’s point of view to the viewers that they otherwise would have missed?

Or at times, akin to the likes of Ian Bishop, Nasser Hussain, doing all of the above?

But what would you call someone who foresees the proceedings on a cricket field purely due to instinct, a knack for it, or  a deep understanding of the game situations, or a combination of all the factors?

Presenting to you, the great magician, Shane Keith Warne.

In Christopher Nolan’s movie, The Prestige, there’s an excellent three-part dialogue that explains the mechanism behind a magic trick

Every great magic trick consists of three parts. The first part, The Pledge. The magician shows you something ordinary.  Shane Warne has shown us his ordinary side. Connections with bookies with Mark Waugh, various sex scandals throughout his life, a larger than life image, missing World Cup 2003 due to a banned drug and so on.

The second part, ‘The Turn’. The magician takes something ordinary and makes it do something extraordinary.

Shane Warne’s exploits on the field need no introduction. Leading Australia to innumerable victories from dead situations. Money-balling Rajasthan Royals to victory in the inaugural edition of the IPL. Blending all of this to become arguably one of the greatest bowlers to have pranced around on a cricket field.

The third part, The Prestige, is the hardest part. Now, you’re looking for the secret. You won’t find it because you’re not looking. You want to be fooled. You wouldn’t clap yet. The hardest part of the magic part is named after the movie, The Prestige.

Let’s look at some remarkable instances when Shane Warne pulled off ‘The Prestige’, calling the action on the field or in some cases, being a part of it.

Shane Warne vs Brendon McCullum in the KFC Big Bash League
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt_tOv25KCg

This was the Oracle at work. Calling your wicket in a multi-dimensional format like T20 is still considered a genius. But calling your wicket predicting the batsman’s shot going by the previous delivery is seriously a joke.

Shane Warne predicting Nathan Lyon’s wicket in the over against India. 

https://twitter.com/FoxCricket/status/1071598266775613440?s=20

He’s done it! Nathan Lyon was spinning a web in the 88th over against Pujara and somehow, yet again, Shane Warne felt that the last ball could fetch a wicket even though Pujara was on 71 off 203 balls. To call a wicket out of the blue in the middle of a battle is yet again, a sign of pure genius.

Shane Warne predicting a tie between India and England in the World Cup 2015.

Of all the on-air moments of magic that Shane Warne has come up within his illustrious commentary career so far, none can ever match this! Calling the result of a game itself is a tedious job but then to call a ‘tie’ in a high-profile World Cup when the odds must be so heavily stacked against that is something out of this world. Take a bow, Shane!

One of the greatest minds in the history of the game must be Shane Keith Warne. Maybe he gets the instinct to call something for the future because of his affiliations with poker.

A man who spins as much on a cricket field as many spins he’d give a journalist for the front pages.
As a keen observer and a writer of the game, I’ve often seen the word genius thrown around more often than it should be. A scoop shot, a knuckleball, a match-winning knock riddled with chances gone begging but that doesn’t begin to describe the word ‘genius’ for me on a cricket field.

For me, a genius is someone who could pull a rabbit of the hat not just occasionally but at will.  A true magician and possibly, the greatest showman we’ll see in cricket.




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