it was the announcement that the Great Southern Stand at the MCG … would be renamed the S.K. Warne stand, that is the most fitting tribute. –The Melbourne Age

By Roger Childs

He was a smoker, a heavy drinker, a womaniser and a larrikin in the classic Aussie tradition. But Shane Warne was also possibly the greatest spin bowler of all time. In a nation which loves sport there is universal approval that he will have a state funeral.

His test cricket record is remarkable:

  • 145 matches
  • 708 wickets at an average of 25.41 (The first in the world to reach 700.)
  • 3154 runs at an average of 17.32
  • Highest score 99.

He was a right arm leg spin bowler – pitching the ball to a right hand batsman outside the leg stump for it to spin back in towards the wickets. He could also bowl a googly – pitching outside the off stump to turn in towards the wickets – which batsmen found very hard to pick.

Always in the headlines

His story was part fairy tale, part pantomime, part hospital drama, part adult’s-only romp, part glittering awards ceremony. –Christian Ryan

His performances on the field and antics off the field had seen him featured in the papers for over 30 years. Warne’s death last Friday in Thailand at the age of 52 came as a shock to cricket lovers all round the world. 

The tributes have been effusive. One of the best:

He was a phenomenal sportsman, and so much more. When he had the ball in his hand, he was a magician. He was a flash of blond lightning. He was a larrikin and an artist, and he changed the game he loved in the process. To watch him in action was just one of the purest joys sport had to offer, and a reminder of what is best about sport. –Anthony Albanese, Leader of the Australian Labor Party

After his retirement from cricket in 2013 a statue was erected in Warne’s honour outside his favourite ground — the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 

Now he will have a state funeral and a stand at the MCG named in his honour. He will not be forgotten and all top class spin bowlers in the future will be compared to him