It used to be said of the great boxer Muhammad Ali that he floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. A ball sent down by Shane Warne had a very similar ability to catch opponents napping. His deliveries floated down with innocuous intent, but then reared off even the most docile pitch like an angry viper.
Warne has now ended his cricketing career— fittingly in a blaze of controversy. He had kept the tabloids busy and revelled in being the bad boy of cricket. But all these controversies did little to alter the basic truth, that he was prodigiously talented and perhaps the best spin bowler in the history of the game. Even at the very end of his career, he was more dangerous than the new generation of trundlers.
Anil Kumble is now in retirement and Muthiah Muralitharan is also coming to the end of his career. These three men resurrected the art of spin bowling in the 1990s. An era has ended.