Warren is survived by his three sons, daughters Brooke and Summer, and son Jackson, all of whom gave heartfelt speeches Wednesday, amid a sea of blonde wigs and signs of homage to the cricketer.
Standing on stage at the MCG, Shane’s father Keith spoke first on behalf of the family, describing his son’s March 4 death as “the darkest day” of their lives.
Pop star Elton John – an old friend of Warren – performed “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” in honor of the great cricketer.
“He was a genius, he loved playing cricket, he loved life,” said the Grammy winner.
“ball of the century”
Warren, who debuted for Australia at the age of 22, came of age during an era when bowlers were in high demand.
That all changed after Ashes Warren I in 1993, when 23-year-old England batsman Mike Gattingh threw a ball with a perfectly broken foot dubbed the “ball of the century”.
Warren’s otherworldly style of bowling has confounded his opponents and fans, often making even the greatest batsmen look foolish as they try to face unplayable balls that can spin in any direction.
“I wasn’t thrilled to play against Shane,” former England captain Nasser Hussain told the assembled crowd at the MCG, when asked how it felt to face the rotary man.
Although Warney will be remembered first and foremost by the public as a one-time cricketer of the century, his appeal extended far beyond the athletic field.
“Shane Warren’s legacy goes beyond cricket and even sport. He’s a uniquely Australian cultural icon. His on-field performances were as artistic as they were athletic, and his off-court reputation was legendary,” said 26-year-old Stephen Lustig, who attended the MCG on Wednesday. for CNN.
Warren, often described as one of Australia’s “greatest personalities,” had a talent for making people fall in love with him, and an openness that allowed fans to feel like they knew him intimately.
Warren said in his usual tone of voice during a recent documentary about his career, “I love loud music, I smoke, I drank, I played a bit of my leg. That’s me.”
“When my dad walks into a room, everyone lights up… His infectious smile and laughter are something I will miss forever,” Warren’s daughter Summer said during her tearful tribute.
The final chapter of the night was the unveiling of Shane Warne’s new MCG stand in memory of the cricketer. As Brooke, Jackson, and Summer took their seats in their father’s new suite, Frank Sinatra played the classic “My Way” over the speakers.