Botham salutes ~~Greatest ever Cricketer~~ Warne

Published: Saturday, December 23, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London :Former England captain Ian Botham described Shane Warne as the 'greatest cricketer who's ever lived' as he paid tribute to the champion leg-spinner who will hang up his boots after the Ashes.

''It is the end of an era for cricket, and as per usual Shane Warne has got his timing absolutely spot on. Just like the showman he is, with the job done, the stage set and the applause raining down he is making his exit and all I can say is well done mate,'' Botham wrote in his column for the 'Daily Mirror'.

''He made the difficult choice once the Ashes were won and I think that is absolutely right. He has given cricket and Ashes cricket in particular everything he could have and he is going out on top, as he deserves.

''In my opinion Shane Warne is the greatest cricketer who's ever lived. I'm sorry, but I can't judge people who played 30 or 40 years before I was born because I think you can only really comment on what you've seen first hand. And of the players I've seen, Warney is out on his own,'' he added as he saluted the veteran bowler who is on the verge of picking up his 700th wicket.

Botham said as soon as he came to know of Warne' retirement, he called him and congratulated him for choosing the correct time to call it quits.

''I rang to congratulate him on an incredible Test career and I just told him: 'Well done, you've got it just right. Always leave the crowd wanting a bit more,'' he said.

The former England skipper said Warne would be the sportig icon for the generations to come and described the Aussie spin king as a generous man.

''He's a sporting icon and I've been lucky enough to get to know him as a bloke. I can tell you he enjoys life to the full, is great company and there is no more generous a man than Warney,'' he said.

''...whenever Warney and I get together it's like two kid brothers messing around and larking about, and it's true. We have a lot of fun together and I'm looking forward to seeing him now he has retired from Test cricket,'' he added.

Beefy wants Warne to continue: Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne has revealed that England legend Ian Botham was among those who had tried to talk him out of retiring.

"A few people tried to talk me out of it. Ian Botham was one. He told me I'm still at the top of my game, that I'm the greatest cricketer that ever lived and that people in England would love to see me play in the Ashes series in 2009," Warne wrote in his column in The Times on Friday.


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