If there ever was a list of the most colourful characters to play cricket, Shane Warne would be one of the first names on it. Besides the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Ian Botham, and Imran Khan to name a few.
Strangely enough, it is cricketers like Shane Warne that make the game worth watching. That have more to them than just what they can do on the cricket field. Throughout my time of following cricket, I have not only been mesmerized by what these players do on the field, but also what they do off it.
Shane Warne is one such cricketer who has many shades to his character. Many different talents and abilities. He has had one interesting journey since making his debut in 1992 for Australia.
Since his first match he has gone from record to record, from bowling that ball of the century to Mike Gatting to picking over a 1,000 international wickets, earning himself a place in the record books as one of the best bowlers of all time.
Born in 1969, Warne hung up his boots in 2008, and even though he was done with international cricket, he wasn't really ready to give up on cricket. He returned to the field in the IPL as captain and coach of the Rajasthan Royals and led the team to the championship defeating the Chennai Super Kings in closely fought final in the first edition of the Indian Premier League.
Warne's exploits in the IPL led to a number of people calling for his return to international cricket. Especially considering the downfall of the Australian team and lack of world class spin bowlers to replace him on the international circuit.
If this was Shane Warne on the field, there was another more controversial side to him off the field.
Affairs, drug scandals, bookies - Warne had been through it all.
One of the biggest scandals of his career was the case of John the bookmaker, an alleged Indian bookie who paid cricketers to fix matches. Warne and Mark Waugh admitted to Cricket Australia that they had received money from John in exchange of information about the pitch and the weather. Both Warne and Waugh were fined by CA and the matter was settled behind closed doors, long before it became public knowledge.
Another scandal resulted in the end of Warne's ODI career as he tested positive for a banned substance on the eve of the 2003 ICC World Cup. Warne got banned from cricket for a year and never returned to ODI cricket. But he did return, fitter and better than ever before, to test cricket, where he went on to become the highest wicket taker in the history of tests, before Muralitharan broke his record.
Warne still sits on second spot in that list and is only one of the two bowlers to take more than 700 test wickets in the history of the game.
Once Warne moved on from the game he took up another passion - one that he used to enjoy in the Australian dressing room as a past time - Poker! He decided to become a professional poker player and now takes part in a number of global competitions, where he is represented by one of the leading poker sites called 888. This year he is even participating in the World Series of Poker (WSOP), where he is captaining the 888 team.
That's not all to Shane Warne. There is actually even a musical that has been made based on him and its called Shane Warne: The Musical. Take a look!
And if that was not all, Warne has also been offered work in Bollywood.
Cricket, women, poker, bollywood - looks like he's living my dream life!
Shane Warne.. truly a man with many talents.