5 legends sum up Shane Warne in one word at the spin legend's state memorial service
More than 50,000 people gathered at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for Shane Warne's state memorial, where family, legends and more recalled the 'larger than life' Warnie in heartfelt tributes.
Australian spin legend Shane Warne's sudden death from a heart attack at the age of 52 in Thailand on March 4 plunged the cricket world into darkness and disbelief that their 'Warnie' was no more. Family, Australian cricketing legends, pundits, celebrities and everyday fans gathered at Warne's beloved Melbourne Cricket Ground to pay their tributes to the 'larger than life' spinner.
Following heartfelt tributes from Warne's father, Keith, Kylie Minogue and Hugh Jackman, a panel consisting of cricket legends Mark Taylor, Allan Border, Merv Hughes, Nasser Hussain, and Brian Lara assembled on the stage to share their memories of Warnie.
They were each asked to sum Warne up with one word. Here's what the legendary cricketers said:
Former Australia fast bowler Merv Hughes was a close friend of Warne and delivered a fitting tribute. "He was a very loyal friend. As good as he was on the cricket field, he was five times better off it. If he ever said he was going to do something, he did it," Hughes added.
Meanwhile, when asked what it was like to play against Warne, Hussain recalled the time he got into a war of words with him during an ODI.
"He had been sledging me all day, and he brought himself onto bowl because AB had told him 20 years earlier if you're struggling, pick a fight with someone. He picks a fight with me. I sledged him for some apparent reason, and I've said something like, 'enjoy your last game as captain. Steve Waugh is back next game. You're never going to captain Australia again', which at the time seemed a really good thing to do," the former England skipper said.
"Because we needed 40 off ten overs with seven wickets in hand. I'll be surprised if you haven't got the footage of me running down the pitch, the very next delivery after that slog-sweep... Oh, my days. That shot doesn't get any better 23 years later. Stumped Gilchrist, bowled Warne. Look at the celebration. Drift in. I'm in a different postcode to that ball. Look at the celebration. How often have we seen that? We lost 7-30. We lost by ten runs, and Bumble didn't speak to me for a month," Hussain added.
In some final reflections, Hussain said: "I'd say, Shane, it was an absolute privilege to be with you on a cricket pitch. On behalf of everyone back in England, our Sky team, we love you, and we miss you."
Taylor also paid tribute to Warne for making spin bowling "fashionable again". He said: "A big thank you to Warnie on behalf of cricket. He made slow bowling fashionable again. He made it cool. And I think we who were lucky enough, and AB and I captained him in particular, really appreciate it because it made us better captains and better leaders."