Shane Warne was remembered as a cricketing genius and maverick entertainer at a state memorial at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday where tens of thousands of people gathered to pay tribute to one of the game’s finest players.
Australian Warne, whose talent and personality transcended cricket, died of a suspected heart attack about three weeks ago at the age of 52 while on holiday in Thailand.
A private funeral was held for Warne’s family and closest friends in Melbourne last week but all were invited to Wednesday’s televised memorial where his father Keith mourned the loss of “a loving and caring son” and his former team mates remembered a fierce and mischievous competitor.
“Shane said of himself, ‘I smoked, I drank and I played a little cricket,’” Keith Warne said in a eulogy at his son’s home ground, where he took a hat-trick and his 700th Test wicket.
“Mate, your mother and I can’t imagine a life without you. You have been taken too soon and our hearts are broken. Thank you for all you did for us.”
Warne is arguably Australia’s most revered cricketer after the great Don Bradman, who regarded him the game’s best ever legspinner.
Greta Bradman, the granddaughter of the Depression-era batsman and captain, sang Australia’s national anthem at the evening memorial.