Spin king is fondly remembered

Vale King: Legendary Australian cricketer Shane Warne died on Friday at the age of 52. photograph cricket australia


CRICKETERS across the region awoke Saturday morning to the shocking news Australian cricket legend Shane Warne had died.
Selected as one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the 20th century, Warne took 708 Test wickets to be regarded as the greatest spin bowler of all time.
Tributes flowed for the leg spinning maestro, with club cricketers across the country sporting
black arm bands during matches at the weekend.
Warne had some connection to the Latrobe Valley, with fellow Test cricketer Peter Siddle of Latrobe Cricket Club overlapping the start of his Victorian career with the back-end of Warne’s.
Morwell Cricket Club overseas player Chris Yates also played with Warne for English county
Hampshire, while Willow Grove and Trafalgar players Rob Phoenix and Rhys Holdsworth played premier cricket for Warne’s club St Kilda.
Yates shared his experiences with the spin king.
“I was lucky enough to share a taxi with him, go clubbing with him, net with him and even field a ball off his bowling,” he said.
“(We) talked about music and family one night, (he was) so down to earth and never felt like I was speaking to the best spinner ever to play the game, just a humble man interested in you.
“What a legend and such terrible news. RIP Warnie.”
Sale-born cricketer Ian Wrigglesworth crossed paths with Warne a few times, both as part of the Victorian squad and overseas.
Wrigglesworth, who played a number of First Class and List A matches, came across a young
Warne at a time both were looking to forge their careers.
The year was 1991, and the destination England. Warne was playing for Accrington in the
Lancashire league and Wrigglesworth was a drive “just five minutes away”.
From there, Warne went on an Australia A tour of Zimbabwe, and two years later, bowled the ‘ball of the century’.
Wrigglesworth and Warne, as well as James Sutherland, were part of a group of Melbourne-
based players in England at the time, and would have a hit most Wednesdays.
Wrigglesworth recalled even at an early age Warne imparted more rip on the ball and had more control than any spinner he had faced.
“He just didn’t bowl rank leg-spinning half trackers,” Wrigglesworth said.
Those who have seen Wrigglesworth bat will attest to him being a quality player of spin, but even he said there was always an element of uncertainty when facing Warne.
“I could pick him out of the hand, but he made the ball drop quickly so you had to check your shot,” he said.
As well as cricket, the Melbourne cricketers would often play social tennis or pool, with Wrigglesworth saying Warne’s “incredible hand-eye” allowed him to excel at both.
He remembers Warne hardly played pool (eight ball) before the England trip, but was one of the best players by the end.
Wrigglesworth believed Warne was the greatest stock bowler of all time, and that his greatness lay not entirely in his wicket taking ability, but in the fact his bowling was of such quality and durability it meant Australia could play six recognised batsman and no all-rounder for most of his Test career – a time that saw Australia completely dominate world cricket in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
In remembering the champion, Wrigglesworth said he was not only a “fantastic team player” for Victoria but a “good bloke”, always willing to sign autographs or pose for photos with kids, something perhaps lost in the age of tabloid newspapers only running stories detailing his trials and tribulations off the field.
“I couldn’t speak highly enough of him, he was always genuine, very personable,” Wrigglesworth said.
Online tributes
Here’s what you had to say online at the Latrobe Valley Express Facebook page after the shock passing of Australian cricket legend Shane Warne.
JILL NOLAN GOULTER: So saddened. Another young man taken too soon!
DAWN STUBBS: Another bright star in our heavens tonight who has gone way too soon! Rest well Warnie!!
TOM HOPE: So, so sad rip condolences to your family and friends .. absolute champion gone too early.
ANNETTE O’BRIEN: Such a special man. One of a kind, both on and off the field … RIP Warnie. x
GRACE PASTORCIC: So sad, may he rest in peace. Condolences to his family.
NADIA TSAIKOS: So, so incredibly sad. Condolences and strength to Shane’s family and loved ones. May he rest peacefully. What a tragic loss.
VICKIE JOHNSTON: So sad. Taken too soon. May he rest in peace.
MARCIA HALE: I feel for his family. RIP Shane.
YVONNE MCINNES: Gone too soon. It’s very sad.
GEOFFREY MILLS: Two great cricketers both passing away from heart attacks. Will be sadly missed.
ANGELA GOODALL: How sad, my thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and
colleagues. RIP Shane.
CHRISTINE LYNNE: Tis indeed sad news. Vale Warney.
GREG MASON: No!!!! Not Warney. Will be sadly missed.
CARMEL HUNT-LOGIODICE: Just so hard to believe he is gone … my thoughts are with him and his family at this time.
KERRY ADRICHEM-HUNTJENS: Thanks for your wonderful contribution to Aussie cricket.
BARNEY GREGSON: So sad. Thinking of all his family and friends. RIP legend.
TRACEY DEMETRIOS: Unreal, very sad news.
WENDY MITCHELL: This makes me incredibly sad, condolences to his family. Two
cricket greats gone, so sad. Thanks Warnie Rod Marsh for the wonderful sporting memories. Rest well.