Melbourne Stars pay emotional tribute to Shane Warne in their first BBL game at the MCG since his shock death – with fans giving the spin king a standing ovation ahead of Hobart Hurricanes clash
The Melbourne Stars paid a touching tribute to the memory of the late Shane Warne on Friday in their first Big Bash League game at the MCG since his death.
The clash between the Stars and the Hobart Hurricanes was stopped after 23 balls as players and coaching staff from both teams joined the fans in a moving standing ovation for Australia’s legendary spin bowler.
Ahead of the game, Stars players warmed up donning training tops remembering Warne with the No. 23 on their backs — the number the spin king wore in ODIs and T20s during his extraordinary career.
Fans at the MCG paid homage to the late Shane Warne with a standing ovation during the Melbourne Stars’ first game at the famous venue since the spin king’s death in March
Warner, who died suddenly while on holiday in Thailand in March at the age of 52, played a major role in developing the BBL after it launched in 2012.
‘He’s the king for a reason,’ Stars coach Michael Hussey, who played alongside Warner for Australia and in the BBL, told Fox Cricket.
‘He’s a big part of the Melbourne Stars, he created the culture of the group and he made the Melbourne Stars what they are today.
‘I miss him all the time. I used to call him up, text him at all times and he’d text straight back — a wonderful man.
Warne died while on holiday in Thailand in March of this year, just hours after Australia had lost fellow cricket great Rod Marsh
‘He’s a magic man that we’re all going to miss.’
Warne came out of retirement to play for the Stars in competition’s first two seasons and former Australia coach Darren Lehmann credits his cameo as crucial in lifting the tournament’s profile.
‘For him to come out of retirement and play with the Stars and just the way he went about it, it gave a real buzz to the competition,’ he said.
‘He really set the competition alight.
Stars players warmed up wearing Shane Warne-themed tops with the number 23
One of Warne’s playing shirt was placed on the boundary line during the game on Friday night
Fans paid tribute to the legendary Aussie spin bowler, who died at the age of 52
After retiring from limited overs cricket, Warne was then a regular of Fox Cricket’s commentary team throughout the competition.
Ahead of the first game of the season on Tuesday, Adam Gilchrist paid a touching tribute to him and the late Andrew Symonds, who perished in a car crash just two months after Warne’s death.
A visibly emotional Gilchrist struggled to hold back the tears as he offered a poignant homage to his late teammates ahead of the game between the Stars and the Sydney Thunder.
Warne came out of retirement to play two seasons with the Melbourne Stars after the competition was launched back in 2010
He was then a regular figure in Fox Cricket’s commentary box along with former teammate and Aussie cricket great Adam Gilchrist (left)
‘We love the Big Bash, it’s our favourite time of the year,’ the Aussie cricket great said on Fox Cricket.
‘You know it was Warnie and Roy’s [Symonds’] as well, which makes this so hard.
‘Their record on the field was well documented – they were national icons, they were our icons, our favourites here in the commentary box.’