A three-month-old killer whale calf that’s missing his dorsal fin has been named after late cricket legend Shane Warne who was famous for his ‘flipper’ bowling technique.
The calf named Warnie was spotted with his pod off the coast of Western Australia in a popular hunting ground for orcas called The Patch.
Speaking with the ABC, whale-watching charter vessel operator, Gemma Sharp said seeing the orca calf was a shock.
“We couldn’t believe it, this tiny little calf popped up and he had no dorsal fin,” she said.
“We all had to look twice to make sure we were seeing it correctly.”
The killer whale’s missing fin is likely due to a birthing accident.
Sharp said that they liked to name the whales after historical events and thought the missing fin was a great opportunity to pay homage to Warne for his iconic ‘flipper’ bowling style.
“We were just as devastated as many Australians to hear the news of Shane Warne passing and we met this calf a couple of days after that happened,” she told the ABC.
“We were sitting, as a family, thinking we need a really special name for this little orca — Warnie.
“Whenever we see him, we’ll always remind ourselves of how we will always miss Warnie.”
In an interview with the Wide World of Sports, Warne’s former captain Mark Taylor said the legends ‘flipper’ was highly regarded as a deadly spin for his opponents.
“… Warnie’s flipper, when we first saw it, was just awesome,” Taylor said.
“It actually swung back into the right-handers. You’d see it short out of the hand and think it was going to be a long hop.
“It was a lethal delivery, and I don’t think world cricket had seen a flipper-like that for years. Trevor Hohns bowled one, but I don’t think he’ll mind me saying that it wasn’t as lethal as Warnie’s.”
Shane Warne died of a suspected heart attack, age 52, while holidaying on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand on March 4. Over 50,000 people gathered at Warne’s state funeral at the Melbourne’s Cricket Ground (MCG) to pay their respects on March 30.