Former Australia captain Michael Clarke has paid a moving tribute to his close friend and former team-mate Shane Warne.
Clarke began his Test career amidst Australia’s Golden Generation team. Although not all of his Test teammates liked Clarke, Warne immediately shone the young hitter.
Warne coined the nickname “Pup” for Clarke, and the pair became good friends away from the cricket pitch.
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“I didn’t say much over the weekend because I was completely in shock. The hardest thing to understand is how quickly it happened,” Clarke said on Sky Sports Radio . The Big Sports Lunch.
“If Warnie had had liver cancer and died from it, I think everyone would have understood the amount of cigarettes he smoked throughout his time. The way he treated his body at times with a diet and (he) didn’t care a drink – he was not a heavy drinker, the drinking around Warnie was more perception than reality.
“I spoke to him two days ago before he got on the plane (to Thailand). I spoke to him when he was here (in Sydney) for the T20s against Sri Lanka and nothing had changed. .
“He spoke the same, acted the same. So all of a sudden getting a phone call at 1am to find out he’d had a heart attack, (I’m) just in shock complete. As was the case with (Phillip Hughes), it takes me a while to figure it out.”
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Clarke was captain of Australia when another of his close friends, Phillip Hughes, tragically died after being hit in the head by a ball during a Sheffield Shield match.
With Warne, it wasn’t a freak accident that ended his life, but it was just as unexpected.
Clarke had a front row seat to the rock star lifestyle that Warne lived, which continued into retirement.
“He lived his life at such a fast pace that he almost created this invincible feeling around him,” Clarke said.
“He was always on the go. You were like ‘man, you can’t do that’ or ‘you need to sleep’ or ‘how do you do that’. Everything was 24/7, like so fast – he started the car in fifth gear.
“Always tempting fate all the time, you never thought it was possible (he might die), there’s no way you can take him down.
“I don’t think there’s a lot that Shane hasn’t experienced. He enjoyed every minute of every day. Sleeping wasn’t his strength.”
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