Eleven years ago (ouch) I followed the Ashes series of that summer from start to finish, going to every day of every Test. I recorded my impressions of it in Men of Waugh: Ashes 2001. This is a passage about the greatest leg-spin bowler of all time, written after day one of the Trent Bridge Test:
Warne was now on and, not for the first time, I took a close interest in his performance from both a bowling and a dramatic point of view. His histrionics sometimes verge on the comical. The cries and the grimaces; the shouts of 'Catch it!', now loudly articulated, now suppressed in mid-syllable as they are seen not to apply; the facial and the bodily antics accompanying virtually every ball - it all makes up quite a spectacle. But together with his enormous skill as a bowler, it may be part of the secret of Warne's success. He behaves as if he expects to take a wicket with every delivery. It reflects something about his effort and commitment and probably gets into the minds of opposing batsmen.
My good mate Gideon Haigh has a new book on Warne. It's called On Warne, and is reviewed here by Ed Smith. Smith says: Warne's 'bowling was merely brilliant. His psychological mastery of events was much better'. Of Gideon's book he writes that it 'is full of lightly worn erudition'. 'Erudition' is the right word. Gideon knows more about cricket than you could fit into a fleet of lorries. I haven't got or read the book yet; but it will happen.