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I once met Australian sporting legend Shane Warne for an interview

by News all Today
I once met Australian sporting legend Shane Warne for an interview

It’s a popular maxim that you should never meet your sporting heroes in person for fear of being disappointed – Shane Keith Warne was an exception to the rule.

In September of 2015, when working at a newspaper on Sydney‘s northern beaches, an email popped up in my inbox from a PR agency offering me an interview with the Australian cricket legend.

I didn’t take long to reply.

A couple of days later – with a mixture of nerves and excitement – I headed to Manly Golf Club where Warne was teeing off at 9am as part of a promotion with one of his many sponsors.

He was my sporting idol, I confess. It really was a ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming’ moment and a definite career highlight. 

Warne’s media person outside the pro shop advised me that the nation’s greatest ever legspinner would be available for a quick chat after the ninth hole.

Warne’s high profile engagement to actress Liz Hurley turned heads around the world – the couple eventually went their separate ways

Warne’s larrikin nature made him a popular figure with sports fans globally (pictured, enjoying a bourbon at the Australian Open tennis in January)

He previously stated he enjoyed smoking – and did so since a teenager (pictured, playing a round prior to the Irish Open in 2015)

Shane Warne lived a life many could only dream about, and was often surrounded by beautiful women

He was also a proud father, with his kids Jackson, Summer and Brooke (pictured) a source of immense pride

True to his word, Warne showed up looking the part in a golf cart a little over an hour later.

I had heard all the stories of Warne’s supposed arrogance and dislike of some sections of Australian media.

Instead, he was engaging, funny and polite.

Our interaction was warm and easygoing, as the man who snared 708 Test wickets in a decorated career happily chatted about golf, the local lifestyle, his passion for cricket commentary and poker.

News of his shock death left me speechless on Saturday morning.

The sporting hero for countless Australians wasn’t supposed to die at 52, he was virtually invincible. Surely?

I remember watching Warne take his 700th test wicket on Boxing Day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2006.

On the verge of retirement, the sporting magician bowled English opener Andrew Strauss.

Warne later said the noise seconds later was ‘unlike anything he has heard before’.

He wasn’t wrong, it was electric. 

Given he was born and raised in Victoria, the adulation from ‘his people’ wasn’t surprising.

Mike Atherton, the former England cricket captain, was stunned by the news which has rocked world sport.

‘I don’t think I’ve ever been more shocked in my life. A man who had such vitality, full of energy and life,’ he said on Saturday.

‘He was someone I played against for a decade in Ashes cricket, and commentated alongside for a long time. I don’t think many people read the game better than him, he was the most intelligent bowler I played against, and that came across in his commentary.

In news which has rocked the sport, Warne, 52, has died after a suspected heart attack in Koh Samui (pictured, with son Jackson)

During his career Warne gained a reputation as the blonde-haired, blue-eyed hero of the sport, a champion bowler on the pitch and a playboy off it, famed for his love of high profile women, baked beans, gin and cigarettes

The father of three was also once engaged to actress Liz Hurley (pictured left at the Ascot races in the UK)

‘Leg-spin was a dying art in Australia when he was first picked – at that first Test match at Old Trafford, he was a little bit under the radar, until he bowled Gatts (Mike Gatting), and then he became a superstar of the game. 

‘He was two bowlers in one – brilliant defensively, and a magnificent attacking bowler. He’s the greatest leg-spinner the game has seen.’

Even legendary rock star Mick Jagger paid his respects, with the Rolling Stones frontman tweeting ‘I’m so saddened by the sudden death of Shane Warne. He brought such joy to the game and was the greatest spin bowler ever.’

Warne’s family were offered a state funeral on Saturday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison labelling the 52-year-old ‘one of Australia’s great characters.’ 

Rest in peace, Warnie, you won’t be forgotten. 

original source: I once met Australian sporting legend Shane Warne for an interview – what happened left me shocked

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