Vale Shane Warne: a cricketing genius who lived a life of ‘no regrets’

When this news broke it was tempting to conclude that Shane Warne died the same way he lived. On vacation in Thailand, nudge.

The tabloids, especially in Britain where he had spent most of his life, portrayed his life very interestingly. Many would have guessed that he died living life to the fullest.

As it turned out, Warne, who was just 52 years old, had announced that he was on a serious health kick, trying to lose weight and get in position. Earlier, he had also managed to turn his weight loss into a scandal when he failed a drugs test at the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa and was sent home. He was ridiculed for blaming his mother for recommending a banned diuretic.

To say that Warne was no stranger to controversies is as simple as seeing that he was an outstanding cricketer.

one of the five Wisden cricketers of [20th] century, cricket fans stared at his bowling record with the same forensic eye as the paparazzi tracked down his carousel.

It was Warne who delivered the “Ball of the Century” in 1993, perhaps the most famous dismissal in modern cricket, to a shocked English captain, Mike Gatting. This game was a piece of sorcery that will never be forgotten.

These contrasting images lead us to ask, who is Shane Warne, and why does he mean so much to so many people?

Varney: The Soap Opera


There are few players who are interesting enough to have music devoted entirely to them, but Eddie Perfect found a lot of material for his 2008 production Shane Warne: The Musical.

Its subject matter may be highly praised by cricket fans around the world, but it is also well known to a much wider audience because it has generated so much tabloid fare.

Warne is often presented as the lovable larrikin, a masculine motif long celebrated in Australia. It is the colonial era image of youths who mocked the British’s sordid propriety with a cheeky, anti-authoritarian attitude and behavior.

Perfectly suited to play a key role in the Ashes cricket series “postcolonial pantomime”, he was loud, messy, outrageous and importantly very good at beating the Poms at his own game.

Warne was radically different from other Australian cricketing heroes like Sir Don Bradman and Richie Benaud. When he died in 2015, I contemplated his transition from on-field rebellious to quiet commentator.

Shane Warne also made the move to television commentary, but while Benaud was considered respectable, Warne was animated and opinionated.

Restraint was never part of Warne’s arsenal, though his successful career as a professional poker player and the subtlety of his bowling were testament to the calculating mind behind a shrewd, brash exterior.

But Warne was a different kind of larrikin from older cricketers like Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh, who died on the same day in a different time zone. Lillee and Marsh were creatures of the cricket world, aggressive practitioners of the art of destroying opposing teams.

Warne went far beyond this area, as the emerging global sports star system fully embraced gossip-based entertainment.

He was both a product and a creator of the sports celebrity who now moves effortlessly across the cultural landscape. He shamelessly endorsed the hair loss treatment. Warne’s doomed engagement to British film star Liz Hurley was a classic case of a relationship that hogged the media spotlight.

The advent of social media, and pocket cameras always on hand to upload “evidence” of a crime, were instrumental in shaping the world’s knowledge of Warne when he is not performing amazing feats on the cricket field. Were.

Therefore, he is much closer to the “Bad As I Wannabe” postmodern cohort embodied by American basketball player Dennis Rodman than to the traditional Australian game Larrykins.

more than just a cricketer


Cricket fans don’t need to be persuaded to remember Shane Warne. His phenomenal record establishes him firmly in the cricketing world. But he is also important to the game in general and beyond the world of bat and ball.

Warne reminds us that play is always more than just performance on the field. The question is not just what is done, but how it is done. There’s as much fascination with the story behind it as the big game.

A nostalgic student from suburban Melbourne, Warne was a social dynamic solely because of his sportsmanship.

This man bravely did extraordinary things, but he was also a flawed personality.

From his mis-advised early fraternity with bookies to his feuds with players past and present, Warne became Warne, a caricature of the almost sporty Australian bloke loved by some and despised by others.

Warne essentially demanded and garnered attention. Despite his expression of sadness about his family ties in the documentary Shane, he insisted “I smoked, I drank, I bowled a little. No regrets”.

The audience alternately praises and criticizes this life on its own terms. It is in the space of conversation between which Warne lives.


(David Rowe, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University Sydney for the Conversation)

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