Shane Warne, one of the greatest cricketers in the history of the sport, has died aged 52. He was found unresponsive in his villa in Thailand and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived. According to Australian media, he died of a heart attack.
The spin bowler was part of Australia’s World Cup-winning team in 1999 as well as the linchpin of a side that became the sport’s dominant force in the late 1990s and 2000s. Wisden, the respected cricket almanac, rated him among the five greatest cricketers of the 20th century.
Warne went on to claim about 700 more wickets over a 15-year career in Test matches, second only to the Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan. He is credited with reviving leg spin, a bowling technique designed to make a cricket ball move prodigiously off the pitch to catch out the batsman.
An exuberant personality on the cricket field, he was also a charismatic presence off it, and spent his post-playing career as a television commentator with Fox in Australia and Sky in the UK.
Born in Melbourne in September 1969, Warne played for his home state of Victoria and later joined Hampshire county cricket club in England. His first Test match was in 1992 against India.
Tributes have poured in from across the sport. Adam Gilchrist, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Ben Stokes among some who paid respect to Warne. Warne stopped playing international cricket after the 2007 Ashes. He took part in the first four seasons of the Indian Premier League, winning the inaugural competition with the Rajasthan Royals as captain of the team.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the spin legend will receive a state funeral, while the cricket board decided to rename a stand at the MCG in his honour. Morrison said Australians were “bewildered” by a “sad and sudden” loss of Warne and the state funeral would be organised by federal and Victorian governments, Cricket Australia and the family,