Just when we thought we had seen the last of Shane Warne’s bowling… we had.
More than eleven years after the first announcement of his retirement, and almost eighteen months after his last grumpy departure from the Big Bash, Shane Warne walked onto Lord’s one final time. It was Saturday, July 5 2014, and the Marylebone Cricket Club decided to celebrate its 200th anniversary at its current Home of Cricket by assembling an all-star cast as its team played a Rest of the World XI across fifty overs per side.
Like Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Brian Lara had been brought out of retirement, and so too was Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, whose stellar competitive career ended with his carefully organised 200th Test appearance in Mumbai the previous November.
Rest of the World captain, the 44 year old Warne, bowling to MCC captain, the 41 year old Tendulkar, the meeting of two all-time greats, the main incentive for ticket sales to this special commemorative event.
Warne won the toss, and elected for his RoW to bat first. The 49th over, Yuvraj Singh dismissed for a stellar 132, the score 287 for 7. Warne to face the 50th over, and who is to bowl it but his former Aussie team-mate Brett Lee.
Lee bowls the first ball to Warne, and Cricinfo describes it thus:
“49.1 Lee to Warne, 1 no ball, whoa! Welcomes his old mate with a fiery beamer.. Send straight to his rib cage.. Warne is lucky he gets a bat on that.. That was surely not part of the plan”
During the change of innings, Cricket Australia disclosed the full impact of ball 49.1:
“BREAKING: @ShaneWarne has a suspected broken hand after @BrettLee_58’s beamer. @gilly381 now skippering.”
MCC batted. Warne did not take the field. Tendulkar scored 44 – bowled by Muralitharan, but Aaron Finch smashed 181 not out from 145 balls to bring victory by five wickets with 25 balls to spare.
The much anticipated Warne-Tendulkar encounter never happened. Thank you Bing.