Leg spinners share brotherhood: Warne

Published: Thursday, September 6, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi: It's like a couple of used car salesmen bumping into each other and passing on a few tricks about deceiving customers. This is how ace leg spinner Shane Warne describes the spinners' club in his just- released autobiography, which includes India's Anil Kumble among others. It is a unique club by any standards as the members indulge in a trade-off of a different sort and the goodies on offer include 'wrong-uns', 'zooters' and 'flippers'. What would also immediately strike an outsider is a rare camaraderie amongst players from different nations, the uniting factor being all are exponents of the leg spin. "There is a great brotherhood among leg spin bowlers," says Warne, the only tweaker to have notched up 400 Test wickets. The primary reason being the fear that "the art might be lost" as they "realise the need to make sure as much knowledge of the craft stays within the game". So Warne finds himself "sitting on the living room floor of Abdul Qadir, flicking leg breaks and flippers across the room to each other". Or sharing a dark secret with "old buddy" Anil Kumble. Of his relationship with Kumble, Warne says, "The two of us have had dinner a few times, despite our different backgrounds, and always get on like old buddies." Like curious kids exploring each others' toys, Warne reveals that Kumble "showed me his flipper" and then the Aussie in turn showed the Indian how he "bowled the leg break". "Spin bowling is an international language in itself," feels Warne as he compares his meetings with Kumble to a "couple of used car salesmen bumping into each other - they will pass on a few tricks about deceiving customers, while we talk about deceiving batsmen". Warne says, "If Kumble was not a hero to India already, then he set himself up for life that day in February 1999 when he took all the 10 Pakistani wickets in an innings." And the qualities of the Indian that strike Warne the most are longevity and consistency. "He rarely gives anything to hit, and because of his high action he generates good bounce. By the final day on an up and down pitch he can be lethal," Warne observes. "Kumble is a thorough gentleman off the field and but extremely competitive on it." After Warne learnt the flipper from Kumble, he passed on the trick to Pakistan's Mushtaq Ahmed, who in turn showed the Aussie his 'wrong-un'. "I thought that was a pretty good trade-off. He (Mushtaq) proved a quick learner and suddenly took a lot of our wickets in the 1995-96 series. More than one Australian batsman asked me what I had done. They seemed to overlook the fact that I happened to be taking a few wickets myself as well," Warne writes with characteristic wry humour.

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