Warne named Wisden's player of the year - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warne named Wisden's player of the year

By Paul Mulvey 06/04/2005 11:10:56 PM Comments (0)

Playground or Test ground, Shane Warne remains the first choice of cricket's most respected journal.

Wisden has named Warne its Leading Cricketer in the World in 2004 to cap the leg spinner's remarkable return from the shame of his drugs ban.

In Wisden's 2005 almanac, editor Matthew Engel credited Warne's return with turning Australia from a vulnerable power at the start of 2004 back into an impenetrable force.

Many critics doubted Warne could come back from a 12-month ban, the latest drama in a career he admits is a soap opera.

But come back, he did.

Starting with 10-159 against Sri Lanka in Galle in March in his first match back, Warne ended 2004 with 70 wickets in 12 Tests at an average of 24.07, helping Australia to 10 emphatic wins and two draws and planting himself firmly back on top of the cricket pile.

"Australia at the start of 2004 were starting to look a little vulnerable, you started to see a side that could be beaten and that's because they couldn't exercise control with the ball," Engel said.

"The biggest single difference between that and the side that's been marching all over everybody in the last few months, the same as they used to do, was the return of Warne."

Engel said Warne, 35, edged out Test teammates Damien Martyn, Adam Gilchrist and Glenn McGrath and England allrounder Andrew Flintoff for the Wisden honour which the 142-year-old almanac introduced last year.

"Eleven names came up. I felt the answer did lie in Australia, working out which one was difficult," Engel said.

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