It has been a very sad 24 hours for Australian cricket. Former Australian wicketkeeper Rod Marsh died at the age of 74 following a heart attack and yesterday afternoon Shane Warn passed away at the age of just 52.
The legendary leg spinner died after a suspected heart attack and will always be remembered as one of the greatest cricketers of all time.
One of the all time greatest
Warne, became the second highest wicket tacker of all time with 708 test wickets over a 15 year period.
He was a tremendous character both on and off the field, with the news coming through yesterday it has left so many people ln deepshock.
Warne helped Australia win the 1999 50 over World Cup, along with claiming 293 dismissals in 194 one day internationals.
One of five Wisden cricketers of the century
In the year 2000, he was named as one of five Wisden cricketers of the century, alongside Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs and Sir Viv Richards. All legends in their own lifetime.
In 2007 he announced his retirement from international cricket following yet another Aussies clean sweep in the Ashes against England at home.
A year later he retired from first class cricket, ending a seven year spell with Hampshire, where he captained the side from 2004.
Left the game in 2013
He continued to play franchise cricket until retiring completely from the game in 2013, including a spell for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
Warne worked regularly in media and tv where he was held in awe as a commentator and pundit. He recently accepted the challenge of a head coach role for the London Spirt in the Hundred’s inaugural first year.
That ball in that test match
Both lovers of the game and pure neutrals will always remember Warne for the Ball of the Century. In the second day of the 1st test against England at Old Trafford in June 1993, he produced a delivery that shocked the world. Mike Gatting could do nothing about the delivery. With Graham Gooch at the other end of the crease and umpire Dickie Bird shacking their heads in amazement.
It wouldn’t be the first time either that people shock their head about Warne. He was always one for making the news on both the front and back pages of the papers.
Such a lovable character
However, one thing you can’t take away is the fact that he was loved and adored by so many people in and out of the sport.
I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to him a long while ago when he was skipper of Hampshire. Essex were the opponents in a county championship game, when he decided to set at that time an unusual field setting.
Virtually seven slips were put in place as he wanted to attack early in the game. Only Warney would have the insight and confidence to do this, by backing his own judgement.
Outstanding captain and a nice guy
When asked at the time why would you set a field like this, he replied in his own special way “You need to put pressure on the batsman all the time, they need to be scared of what they are facing.”
Typical Warne, but it worked and it paid off and he went on to be a successful captain with Hampshire.
Warne was a tough competitor on the field and hated to loose in any sport or game he was involved in.
Despite this, he always played the game of cricket with a warm smile on his face. At the end of a hard day’s play he would be the first to go in to the visitors dressing room and say well played, lets go and have a beer.
Normally in this case it would amount to a few. But that was the Shane Warne that we all grew up to love.
A lovable man who will be so sorely missed. Gone to young.