Farewell Share Warne

The greatest leg spinner – and one of the greatest cricketers ever – has passed away far too soon.

Australia is in mourning after former Australian cricketer Share Warne passed away from a heart attack in Thailand on Friday. He was just 52.

On a trip with mates in Koh Samui, Thailand, he was found unresponsive by friends in his villa, with the cause of death being a suspected heart attack.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, who are now forced to bury a beloved son, brother and father way too soon.

Living legend

Australians are also in shock. “Warnie”, as he was known, was a living legend, bringing back the art of leg spin to international cricket. (Leg spinners try to spin the ball from the leg side to the off side (or from a right-handed batsman’s left-side to his right) while off spinners try to spin it the other way.)

Debuting in the national team in 1992, he remained a fixture of the generally-dominant Australian cricket teams of the next 15 years. He helped Australia finally defeat the West Indies in a Test series in 1995, the first time the West Indies had lost a series for 15 years.

Warnie ended his career with 708 Test wickets from 145 Tests, and took 293 more in 194 One Day International games. His 708 Test wickets place in him second on the all-time leaderboard behind Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan.

A normal bloke

As revered as he was for his cricket exploits, though, he was even more revered for his exploits off the field.

Warnie was notorious for his love of alcohol, cigarettes and fast food, as well as his pursuit of women.

And he made no bones about this, either, refusing to apologise for enjoying the finer things in life!

As such, ordinary Australians viewed him as one of them, as someone they could identify with – and even have a beer with – despite his fame and fortune.

Unfortunately, his love of women tended to get him in trouble. One example was when he tried to get back to with ex-wife Simone but accidentally sent her a flirty text that was meant for another woman.

On another especially notorious occasion, he was set up by a couple of women who were working undercover for the News of the World tabloid. After a fun night together – this was during a cricket match, one should note – he was coming off the field the next day only to be told that the tabloid had photos of his tryst the previous night.

Warnie told them to f*** off, refusing to apologise or plead for the photos not to be published. The burdens of being a superstar cricketer!

Generous to a fault

While he engaged in the usual on-field banter and “sledging” expected of Australian cricketers when playing England in particular, off the field Warnie always treated everyone with respect and kindness.

He was quick to offer assistance to anyone seeking lessons on how to be a better cricketer, while also being generous in giving his time and money to the less fortunate.

Unfortunately, he is now gone, far too young.

Warnie was a man’s man in a time when that is almost illegal.

He was also one of the most skilled bowlers and cricketers that ever lived, being included in Wisden’s list of the Five Greatest Cricketers of the 20th Century alongside Donald Bradman, Garfield Sobers, Jack Hobbsand Viv Richards.

Not bad for someone who originally aspired to play Aussie Rules football for his beloved St Kilda, but was forced to concentrate on cricket when he was deemed not good enough for the AFL.

May he rest in peace.

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