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Shane Warne: The wrong 'un that came good

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Australian cricketer had record breaking career as a spin bowler
  • Also well known for numerous off-field scandals; became subject of a musical
  • Runs a charitable foundation and still plays the Twenty/20 version of the game

(CNN) -- A cricketing icon and sporting hero in his native Australia, Shane Warne's life off the cricket pitch has almost been as well documented as his career on it.

Since he emerged on the international cricket scene in 1992 he's been credited with reviving spin bowling and has reached numerous milestones including taking over 1,000 international wickets.

One ball he bowled to England's Mike Gatting in an international match in 1993 became known as "the ball of the century."

"I thought it was a pretty good ball ... when we saw it on the replay, we looked up on the big screen, and saw it, and I thought 'Hang on that wasn't too bad actually that was pretty cool,'" Warne told CNN.

It had commentators cooing, but it also alerted Warne to a whole new world of media scrutiny.

Video: Web exclusive: Warne's 'Ball of the Century'

"I supposed it was something that changed my life, not just my cricket. Suddenly everyone wanted to know what I was doing, where did I go to the pub, which restaurant I went to, who was I hanging out with, all those different types of thing," he said. "So really, it opened up another thing that I wasn't used to it at that stage."

From marital infidelities and taking banned substances to betting scandals, at times Warne's life was reported as an ongoing soap opera. Yet his engaging character and events on and off the cricket pitch led to acclaim, too, and art imitating life with "Shane Warne: The Musical" -- something that initially had the real Shane Warne cringing.

"At first, I was a bit reluctant to go and see it ... I'm not sure if I can sit there and watch my life. I didn't know what to expect," he said.

Show times
Wednesday March 31: 13.30 GMT (20.30 Hong Kong)
Thursday April 1: 04.30 GMT (11.30 Hong Kong)
Saturday April 3: 12.00, 20.30 GMT (19.00, 03.30 Sun, Hong Kong)
Sunday April 4: 09.30, 23.30 GMT (16.30, 06.30 Mon, Hong Kong)

"The only person that knew that I was there was Eddie Perfect, the lead actor," he continued. "I was seeing this blonde sort of hair here and he's got his phones, he actually ... he actually looks okay ... It was me on a bean bag when my mum was vacuuming and I thought, 'how does he know some of this stuff?'"

As well as getting used to his celebrity, Warne says he's put the well-documented controversies behind him and set up The Shane Warne Foundation to assist ill and under-privileged children.

He's also extended his own cricketing career by focusing on the abbreviated version of the game in the Indian Premier League and captaining the Rajasthan Royals for the third year.

"I think when you're growing up you make mistakes. I made my fair share, I've made more than probably some," he said. "I'd like to think I moved on."

 
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