Shane Warne: The rock 'n' roll cricketer who transcended the sport

Seen here, Liz Hurley and Shane Warne during happy times together.
The tributes to Shane Warne from all around the world show just how the Aussie cricket legend transcended the sport. Pic: Getty

Want to know how big Shane Warne was in the sporting world?

So big the New York Times, not exactly renowned for its cricket coverage, was one of the first to report on his shock death from a heart attack, aged just 52.

His obituary featured prominently on the Times' sports pages, the paper describing him as "a master of spin, balls that don’t come in fast but instead twist and turn, potentially bamboozling the batsman. And few bamboozled more batsmen than Warne".

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It's further proof Warne transcended cricket, rubbing shoulders with some of the giants of world sport and entertainment while never too far away from an off-field scandal.

Who else could elicit tributes from Mick Jagger, Boris Johnson and Kylie Minogue?

Warne was click bait before there was click bait.

He was rock 'n' roll in white.

Warne never met a batsman he thought he couldn't get out, nor a woman he thought he couldn't take out.

His ego was unrivalled but it's fair to say he talked the talk and walked the walk – on and off the field.

Pictured here, Shane Warne and former fiancee Elizabeth Hurley posing for a photo together.
Shane Warne and Hollywood star Elizabeth Hurley were once engaged before announcing their split in 2013. Pic: Getty (Scott Barbour via Getty Images)

His death came as a complete shock, numbing an entire country and lovers of cricket the world over.

The fact he was in Thailand, enjoying time with friends at a swish resort, didn’t surprise.

Warney was always living life to the fullest, with a boy-like energy for adventure.

Peter Pan with a flipper.

He didn’t seem to have a stop button.

He sounded like a bloke you wanted to spent time with, even if you didn't know him.

Shane Warne leaves enormous legacy on cricket

Ian Healy tells the story of Warney teaching team-mates how to walk into a nightclub.

Don't rush your entry, he told them. Walk slowly but with purpose so people know you've arrived.

As a cricketer, Warne was pure box office.

Leg spin was as dead as disco when he entered the scene in the late 80s.

He literally turned the game on its head.

Pictured here, Shane Warne appeals for a wicket during an Ashes Test match.
Shane Warne is being remembered as the greatest cricketer of his generation. Pic: AAP

As former England spinner Phil Tufnell rightly said, bars at grounds emptied when Warne came on to bowl.

He was a chance of taking a wicket with every single ball he delivered, and you dare take your eyes off the action in case you missed it.

Toilet breaks were only taken when Warne was out of the attack.

He was one of the game's deep thinkers and would have made a good captain, challenging many of cricket's traditional norms and always moving the game forward.

But his outspoken ways and decadent off-field lifestyle was too much of a risk for those calling the shots.

"I like loud music, I smoked, I drank, I bowled a bit of leg spin. That’s me," Warne once said without apology.

The game was different before Shane Warne and won’t be quite the same after him.

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