Shane Warne is the most prolific wicket taker in Australian Test cricket history.
In 145 Test matches he took 708 Test wickets at an average of 25.41. He took a further 293 wickets in one day internationals (av 25.73) to take the total of wickets taken for Australia beyond 1000.
He was also a top class slips fielder, taking 125 catches in his 145 Tests. As a free hitting lower order batsman he scored 3154 Test runs at an average of 17.32, including a memorable dismissal for 99.
It is for his leg-spin bowling however, that he will always be remembered, setting records continuously throughout his career. In March 2004 he became the first Australian (and the second bowler in the world after West Indian Courtney Walsh) to claim 500 wickets, in 2005 he became the first in the world to pass 600 and, on Dec 26, 2006, he became the first to pass 700.
In 2005 he also set a record of 96 wickets in a calendar year, including 40 at an average of 19.92 taken in the Test series against England.
He retired in January 2007, after Australia has clinched a 5-0 Ashes series win over England, with 708 Test wickets to his credit.
Given such a record it is often forgotten that his introduction to Test cricket was inauspicious: His first two matches against India in 1991-2 netted just 1/228. Despite this he was still selected for the 1992 tour of Sri Lanka a few months later, where after taking a pummelling (0/107) in the first innings at Colombo he produced a brilliant spell of 3/11 in the second. Back in Australia later in the year he took 7/52 against the West Indies in Melbourne to ensure his selection for the 1993 Ashes series in the UK. It was there he captured the public imagination with the “Ball of the Century “which dismissed Mike Gatting.
After decades in which international cricket had been dominated by fast bowling, Warne and his great Sri Lankan rival Muttiah Muralitharan brought spin bowling back to centre stage. Warne and Muralitharan raced to set new wicket-taking records, with Warne narrowly edging out his rival to be the first to take 700 wickets.
Among the many accolades heaped on him, one of the most significant was that in 2000 he was nominated by Wisden as one of five Cricketers of the Century. He stands among the greats of international cricket.