Cricketers past and present around the world, from Sachin Tendulkar to Brian Lara and Ben Stokes, paid a shocked tribute to Australian spin maestro Shane Warne, who died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 52 on Friday.
Indian cricket legend Tendulkar, who had many memorable battles with Warne during their playing days, said he was “shocked, stunned and miserable” at the news of Warne’s sudden death in Thailand.
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“There was never a dull moment with you around, on or off the pitch. Will always cherish our duels on the pitch and chatter off the pitch,” Tendulkar tweeted.
“You always had a special place for India and Indians had a special place for you. Gone way too young!”
Brian Lara of the West Indies, another who had crossed swords with Warne in his prime, said he was speechless.
“I literally don’t know how to sum up this situation. My friend is gone!! We have lost one of the greatest athletes of all time!! My condolences go out to his family. RIP Warnie!! You will be missed,” Lara tweeted.
The announcement came just hours after the death of fellow Australian great Rod Marsh, one of cricket’s outstanding wicket-keepers, was announced.
Australia opener David Warner tweeted: “Two legends of our game have left us too soon. I am at a loss for words and this is extremely sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Marsh and Warne family. I just can’t believe it. # rip, you will both be missed.”
England all-rounder Ben Stokes, coached by Warne in the Indian Premier League, wrote on Instagram: “Australian Legend. @rajasthanroyals legend. It was an honor to know and work with you. This man is a LEGEND.”
“I’ve lost a wonderful friend on and off the field of play,” said former England all-rounder Ian Botham, while former England cricketer and commentator Michael Vaughan simply tweeted: “Love ya king”.
Pakistani former pacesetter Shoaib Akhtar, another who has played against Warne, said: “There are no words to describe how shocked and sad I am. What a legend. What a man. What a cricketer.”
Compatriot Wasim Akram said he was “shocked and extremely saddened to hear of the sudden death of my friend Warnie”, calling him “aside from being an iconic bowler, he was a great entertainer”.
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South Africa’s Jacques Kallis, another playing contemporary of Warne, said he was “one of the biggest competitors. Played hard on the field and then be one of the first to have a beer with you.”
“It was always a pleasure and a challenge to play against him. More importantly, he loved his children endlessly. One of the greats of cricket,” Kallis added.
“Life is so erratic and unpredictable. I cannot cope with the passing of this great of our sport and also a person I have come to know off the field. RIP #goat (the best of all time). Best to spin the cricket ball,” Indian Virat Kohli tweeted.
Current India captain Rohit Sharma said he was “really lost for words here, this is extremely sad… An absolute legend and champion of our game has left us. RIP Shane Warne… still can’t believe it.”
Former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene tweeted: “One of the greatest of our generation!!”
“I am terrified. Mourning. And have no words. I was lucky enough to know him well. The magic will last forever,” said former Indian cricketer and commentator Harsha Bhogle.
Former England footballer Gary Lineker said he was “terribly saddened and shocked… The greatest spin bowler of all time. Can’t quite believe it. RIP Shane”.
“Shocked beyond words. A legend of our game, an icon and one who revolutionized spin bowling. RIP Shane Warne,” said Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah.