Former cricket Australia captain Ricky Ponting has delivered a heartbreaking tribute to his friend Shane Warne, following the late cricketer’s honour of reaching Legend status in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Warne was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2009 as an athlete Member and with his rise to “Legend status”, becomes the fifth Australian cricketer to achieve the prestigious honour.
The annual elevation of Sport Australia Hall of Fame Members is considered one of the highest sporting honours an Australian sportsperson can achieve and provides an opportunity to recognise those who have reached the highest levels of achievement in their chosen sport.
An emotional Ponting fought back tears as he remembered Warne for his achievements both on the cricket pitch and off, in an emotional video shared by Channel 7.
????️ “The ultimate competitor. Star power. Never beaten. Reliable. Accepting and caring. Infectious smile. The life of the party. Larrikin. Generous beyond peer.”
Ricky Ponting’s tribute to Shane Warne ???? pic.twitter.com/ZuarLWTT4b
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 8, 2022
“Shane Keith Warne. For me, the greatest ever spin bowler to have played the game of cricket. In fact, for me, he is clearly the greatest cricketer of the modern era,” Ponting said.
“For the 15 years that he represented Australia, I, like you, was witness to something very special. A global superstar that changed our game forever. He single-handedly inspired a generation of boys and girls all around the world who wanted to be like Shane Warne. Wanting to bowl spin and dominate batters and games alike.
“I don’t know what it was, but Shane and I hit it off from our very first introduction in 1992 at the Cricket Academy in Adelaide. We became instant mates. He showed me the ropes, gave me my nickname that has stuck with me ever since and laid the foundation for a lifetime of memories both on and off the field. I miss those chats so much.
“Fitting that one of my fondest memories playing with Warnie was our 2006 Ashes Test win back in Adelaide — the game they said we couldn’t win. But in England’s second innings, it was time for the world to see absolute brilliance that was Shane Warne. It was time to sit back and watch The King on his stage.
“He bowled 32 of the most extraordinary overs, taking 4/49 in a performance that set up our eventual win.
“When reflecting on a few words and statements that capture my feelings for my 30-year mateship with Warnie, I don’t think I have ever had so many words and emotions come into my mind all at once.
“The ultimate competitor. Starpower. Never beaten. Reliable. Accepting and caring. Infectious smile. The life of the party. Larrikin. Generous beyond peer. His achievements, passion and knowledge of the game was something to behold.
“He was a superstar, a game-changer, a leader, an innovator and, above all, a bloody good bloke. Warnie, there will never be another like you.
“Man, myth and now legend. I love you, mate.”
Warne’s family also reflected on the King of Spin’s legacy and his more recent honour. Warne’s daughter, Brooke, told 7News that the award was an “awesome” achievement.
While Warne’s son, Jackson said he wished his father could have been around to receive the honour, saying it “would have meant a lot to him”.
145 Tests, 194 ODIs, 1,001 wickets, the first person to reach 700 Test wickets, one of 5 Wisden Cricketers of the 20th Century, the greatest of all time.
Congratulations Shane Warne; The man, the myth and now the Legend.
— Sport Australia Hall of Fame (@sportaushof) December 4, 2022
Warne’s life was tragically cut short after he died of a suspected heart attack, age 52, while holidaying on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand on March 4.
Following his sudden death, Warne’s management released a statement acknowledging the tragedy.
“Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived,” the statement said.