Shane Warne’s former teammate Ian Healy says he’s absolutely devastated by the spin king’s death, but wasn’t surprised he was taken so young because of his style of turbulent life.
Healy had the favored position of wicketkeeper for Warne during the first half of the legend’s career before his retirement in 1999, with the pair combining for many of Warne’s wickets early in his career.
Despite being one of the nation’s top sportsmen, Warne was renowned for enjoying his life off the pitch, never sticking to strict diets or alcohol bans like many athletes do. professionals.
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While a heart attack was the cause of Warne’s death while on vacation in Thailand, Healy revealed he feared the spin king might succumb to another health issue.
“An early death didn’t surprise me for Warnie,” he told Nine’s Today. “He didn’t take very good care of his body. He was yo-yoing up and down.
“He didn’t put on a lot of sunscreen. I thought it would have become skin issues for him over time, but not at 52. And he would have been full of beans until the end, I bet. “
Warne’s death comes at a particularly tragic time for Australian cricket fans, just 24 hours after the death of legendary wicketkeeper Rod Marsh.
“If you could take two cricketers out of our sport who were the most committed and optimistic characters we’ve had, they’re gone within a week,” Healy said of the two deaths.
“Both men (died) way too soon. We needed the sons of those two, Rod and Warnie, for at least another 20 years.”
Healy said Marsh and Warne had a similar key characteristic: giving back to the game they loved so much.
“That’s why they were so committed. They don’t believe in coaches, but they just coached,” he said.
“You know, he coached teammates and colleagues when he was with them in teams. He then helped the juniors and helped the young players if they asked for it.
“All over the world, on every tour we did, Warnie went to broadcasters at their request and showed the camera everything he was going to deliver through the series of tests we were about to start. .
“He put all of his skills and abilities on tape on every tour. He didn’t hide anything, he wanted everyone to get better at cricket. And then after his career, totally committed as we know, no only in the comments but from setting up his academies and teaching children.
While Warne was known as a larrikin, he remained extremely respectful of the greats who came before him, namely Australia’s first spin legend, the late Richie Benaud.
“Warnie has gone through generations,” Healy said.
“Not only his way of playing, but he communicated regularly with Richie Benaud when he was a player, when he was young.
“He used to choose the brains of Richie Benaud, nobody before him did that, nobody really spent time as friends with Richie Benaud.”
Healy recalled the pair’s playing days together, where Warne regularly chatted with Benaud and former Australia skipper Ian Chappell on the morning of a Test match.
“We’re on the pitch warming up, day in and day out, and Warnie is at the box office talking to Ian Chappell who’s ready to do the draw or the pitch report,” he said.
“He chose the brains of former players. He was the first to do so. I think he could then get an idea of what his previous teams thought about the scenario we were in that day.
“What this current team is playing and planning, and then what the team of Chappell and Richie Benaud would have done, and he had a wonderful perspective on how to approach any game scenario, day in and day out.
“That was the first thing that was different about Warnie. From a young age he was an old man.”
With the ball in hand, there was no one more masterful than Warne with his various variations that would leave hitters tangled up. However, he was also a master at getting inside his opponents’ heads, as Healy recalled.
“Scoring runs for long stretches against Shane Warne with such precision, coupled with the skill and ability to spin a ball so well, was next to impossible. Few players lasted five hours against our offense with Warne in it. “, did he declare.
“What made him great, I think his accuracy gave him a lot of confidence and then he was able to spend his energy talking to the batsmen on the other end.
“Challenging them, criticizing them, and even the most amazing ones were complimenting them. And I could see the reactions of the batsmen on my side of the field.
“He just said, ‘Well done,’ or he said, ‘That’s a good shot.’ He said, ‘I’m going to throw the same ball to you again and I want you to do it again.’ said, “He won’t do it again, will he?”, and I said, “I think he will”.
“He could bamboozle them, knowing his accuracy was so good.”
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Shane Warne’s life in pictures: from Victoria boy to Aussie “Spin King”