Client news   |    March 7th, 2022

WONDER WARNE

It is rare that an Australian cricketer is as well regarded in this country as he is in the country he has represented with such distinction but that is certainly the case with Shane Warne.

Warne was a regular on our TV screens and a knowledgeable and entertaining pundit. When the news came through last week that he had died of a heart attack at just 52 years of age it was hard to take in. Having had a heart attack myself it resonated with me how lucky I had been to have had mine in the casualty department of my local hospital and how things might have turned out differently for him if he was in a different place. That is life’s luck of the draw.

Warne was a cricketing genius. He will be remembered for being the greatest leg spinner of all time. No cricket fan will ever forget the so called ‘ball of the century’ at Old Trafford when he bowled out Mike Gatting with a spin delivery that made the ball dramatically change direction at the last minute. And who can forget the massive role he played in the 2005 Ashes series to turn that Australia’s way but then of course he did that so often for the Aussies. More than that he was a character with a warm personality and a genuine sense of fun. Luckily that was all captured in a recent documentary called simply “Shane’. He loved music and enjoyed a drink and a smoke. He openly admitted cricket came before his family in his order of priorities.

Former England all-rounder Sir Ian Botham said of him “He revolutionised the whole concept of Test cricket.  He was box office. He took the game by the scruff of the neck”. Another ex-England captain, Sir Andrew Strauss meanwhile says “All the eyes turned to him when he was bowling. Everything was theatre. His aura, his ability to intimidate people, his ability to entice people into doing things, was his secret source in a lot of ways. You faced him for a session, and you were utterly exhausted.

He had that infectious personality, he made you smile, he made you laugh. He got up to some good stuff and some stuff the media love.”

But Warne also touched those in the music world, with Ed Sheeran saying “Shane reminded all blokes a bit of themselves, he had got the Jack the lad don’t give a damn attitude. One of the few rock and roll sportsmen. He was an everyday bloke who happened to be amazing at bowling. Kind of like the stories you would hear about footballers in the 60s, who would have a pint and cigarette at half-time and then go back on.” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that he will be given a state funeral and that is absolutely fitting for a sporting genius who will be sadly missed by cricket fans and others the world over.

Peter Varney - Chairman, Integral Sports Management.

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