Sydney, March 5: The cricketing world was on Saturday reeling under the shock of losing one of its greatest players after legendary spinner Shane Warne passed away following a suspected heart-attack in Thailand at the age of 52.
The Australian Test team, currently playing the opening game against Pakistan at Rawalpindi, got two devastating news on Friday — the passing away of legendary wicketkeeper-batter Rod Marsh at the age of 74 and hours later the demise of Warne.
Australian Test skipper Pat Cummins, who was critical of Warne targetting him over the inclusion of fast bowler Mitchell Starc ahead of Jhye Richardson in the first Ashes Test, could not believe the legend had passed away.
“Hard to fathom. We all idolised Warnie growing up for his showmanship, will to win from any position and his incredible skill. Players all over the world owe him so much for what he has brought to cricket. He had a huge affect on all he met. He transcended cricket. RIP King,” tweeted Cummins along with a sepia-tinted image of the spinner doffing his floppy Test cap.
Fellow team-mate Adam Gilchrist, who kept wicket to Warne in several games around the world, said, the news had numbed him, “Numb. The highlight of my cricketing career was to keep wicket to Warnie. Best seat in the house to watch the maestro at work. Have often felt a tad selfish, that Heals (Ian Healy) and I pretty much exclusively are the only ones who had that thrill and pleasure at Test level. Rip Warnie.”
Former Australian cricketer and ex-coach of the national team, Darren Lehmann, said Warne was the “most generous and fun-loving superstar” of the game of cricket.
“The last 24 hours we have lost 2 legends and I am devastated. My thoughts and condolences are with all the Warne family and we send our love to Simone, Brooke, Jackson and Summer (Warne’s family) at this time. Shane was the most generous, fun-loving superstar of our game and I was lucky enough to play and tour with him. He was a charismatic, caring and true friend. Will miss ya King, Rip,” tweeted Lehmann.
Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson tweeted, “I am numb!!! My hero, my mentor, my great friend, Shane Warne is no longer with us. Warnie, the impact you had on this great game and everyone around it is immeasurable. Thank you for being so bloody good to me. I am going to miss you so much. Rest In Peace SK.”
Another of Warne’s former team-mates Mark Waugh said, “This just unfathomable to lose another great of our cricket family. Warnie was the ultimate entertainer on and off the field, never a dull moment who lived life to the fullest. Deepest condolences to his loved ones. RIP mate.”
West Indies great Brian Lara was left speechless by the sudden demise of the spin wizard, tweeting, “And speechless at the moment. I literally don’t know how to sum up this situation. My friend is gone!! We have lost one of the Greatest Sportsmen of all time!! My condolences goes out to his family. RIP Warnie!! You will be missed.” Lara also posted an image of him with the Australian great enjoying a friendly banter.
South African cricketer Faf du Plessis tweeted, “So sad to see the news about @ShaneWarne. He was one of my idols as a young leg spinner. One of the game’s greatest ever. Cricket will miss him.”