Cricketers past and present from Sachin Tendulkar to Viv Richards and Joe Root paid shocked tribute to Australian spin maestro Shane Warne who died of a suspected heart attack at 52.
Shocked to the core:Indian legend Tendulkar, who had many memorable battles with Warne during their playing days, said he was “stunned & miserable” after news of his sudden passing in Thailand on Friday.
“There was never a dull moment with you around, on or off the field. Will always treasure our on field duels & off field banter,” Tendulkar tweeted.
“You always had a special place for India & Indians had a special place for you. Gone too young!”
Warne, one of the greatest players to ever grace the game, often referred to Richards as the best batsman he had seen and the West Indian great said he was “shocked to the core”.
“There are no words to describe what I feel right now,” he said.
Richards’ countryman Brian Lara, who also crossed swords with Warne in his prime, was equally speechless.
“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!!” Lara tweeted, while English great Ian Botham said he too had lost a long-time mate.
“I’ve lost a great friend on and off the playing field,” he said. “One of the best.”
– Two legends –
The announcement came just hours after the death was announced of fellow Australian great Rod Marsh, one of cricket’s outstanding wicketkeepers.
“It has been a terrible couple of days for Australian cricket with the passing of Rod Marsh and now Shane,” said Australian captain Pat Cummins from Pakistan, sentiments echoed by opener David Warner.
“Two legends of our game have left us too soon. I’m lost for words, and this is extremely sad,” he tweeted.
England captain Root, who recently led his team on an Ashes tour to Australia where Warne was a key television commentator, admitted he idolised him in his youth.
“It’s shocked us all in the dressing room,” he said in Antigua, where England are preparing for a Test series against the West Indies.
“My experiences of Shane were of someone who absolutely loved the game. Growing up he was a massive idol of mine and someone you wanted to emulate.”
England all-rounder Ben Stokes, coached by Warne in the Indian Premier League, wrote on Instagram: “Australian Legend. @rajasthanroyals Legend. Was an honour to know you and work with you. This man is a LEGEND.”
Pakistani former paceman Shoaib Akhtar, another to have played against Warne, said: “No words to describe how shocked & sad i am. What a legend. What a man. What a cricketer.”
– Ultimate competitor –
Jaques Kallis of South Africa, also a playing contemporary of Warne, echoed the despair at his sudden death.
“Played hard on field and was one of the first to have a beer with you after,” he said. “Was always a pleasure and challenge playing against him. More importantly loved his kids endlessly. One of cricket’s greats.”
“Life is so fickle and unpredictable. I cannot process the passing of this great of our sport and also a person I got to know off the field. RIP #goat (greatest of all time). Greatest to turn the cricket ball,” India’s Virat Kohli tweeted.
Current India captain Rohit Sharma added that he was “an absolute legend and champion of our game”.
New Zealand players said Warne was always a foe on the field, but a friend off it.
“R.I.P King. You were one hell of a player and an even better mate. Gonna miss you buddy,” said former Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming.
Fellow New Zealand great Chris Cairns, who underwent a life-saving heart operation and was then paralysed by a subsequent stroke last year, called Warne “the ultimate competitor on the field”.
“But off it a man that was so generous with his time. We had so many great battles and it was a privilege to play in the same era as this champion.”
source: SYDNEY, March 5, 2022 (BSS/AFP)