Remembering Australian cricket legend Shane Warne

It seems almost impossible to believe, but 12 months have gone by since we reported the tragic passing of Shane Warne. One of Melbourne’s most famous sons, the Australian cricketer was without doubt among the most talented players of his, or indeed any, era. Yet his almost magical skills on the field of play are only a small part of the legend that was Shane Warne.

Ruffling feathers with the ball of the century

This year will mark 30 years since Warne first took to the field of play at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. Plenty has changed in 30 years. Today, nobody would look twice at a cricketer with bleached hair and an earring, but the staid members in their MCC ties were bemused and concealing smirks – just who did this chap think he was?

The answer came around 17 seconds after he was thrown the ball. His first delivery pitched way outside leg stump, spun all the way around Mike Gatting, which was a long way even then, and struck the top of off stump. Gatting’s look of bewilderment as he walked off would be repeated another 707 times before Warne retired from test cricket 15 years later.

Never a dull moment

It doesn’t take a cricketing genius to recognize Warne’s extraordinary talent – but it was arguably a cricketing genius who described him best. When Warne passed, Sachin Tendulkar took to Twitter in tribute and said there was “never a dull moment, on or off the field, with Warnie around.”

Some of those off-field moments landed Warne in hot water, but he always owned his falls from grace and bounced back. To the general public, it just proved that he was only human like the rest of us. Let’s be honest, the adulation afforded to the likes of George Best, Alex Higgins, Diego Maradona and Warne’s old buddy Ian Botham, demonstrate that we all have fondness for a flawed genius.

Casino life – a real bloke’s bloke

Australian comedy singer Kevin Bloody Wilson was one of many to write songs in Warne’s honor, like Hero of Ancient Greece. It opened with the words “A cricketing legend all Australian boy, A real bloke’s bloke and we all loved him for it.” Warne liked to drink beer, smoke cigarettes and play the pokies at the casino just like a million other “Australian blokes” of his generation.

But to use the gambling terminology, Warnie knew no other way than to go all in. Most of us might look at a list of minimum deposit casino platforms and choose somewhere to play cricket pokies like Cricket Star or Cricket Hero for perhaps $10. That would hold little appeal for Warne, who would be straight across to the casino’s high roller tables, and buying champagne and cigars all round, too!

Known the world over

Shane Warne was known everywhere he went. But unlike so many famous athletes, he always found time to say hello, sign an autograph and pose for a selfie. Whether he was working his magic in the middle, chatting with those curmudgeons in the Long Room at Lord’s or getting into another scrape at a nightclub or casino, Warnie knew no other way than to be himself.

A year on from his passing, the cricketing world is a quieter place, and has lost a certain lustre. We’ll never forget Shane Warne.


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