The English Cricketing Summer Won't Be The Same Without Shane Warne

The sport has been paying tribute to the legendary bowler, who died in March aged 52
14:00, 02 Jun 2022

There’s a piece of the English summer missing.

New Zealand wickets fell at regular intervals on Thursday morning, with England’s seam bowlers sending down over after over of probing line and length deliveries. The sun was out, Lord’s was full, and the home team were bang on top. In many ways, it was the perfect sporting occasion.

But there was no Warnie.

The First Test against the Kiwis is England’s first international fixture on home soil since the sudden death of the inimitable Shane Warne in March. And while to the uninitiated it might feel like an irrelevance that a former Australia bowler should be in the hearts and minds of everyone at an England v New Zealand match, this was exactly when Warne would have been in his element.

As English cricket fans we had a grudging respect for Shane during his incredible career. His 195 wickets against England as part of a 708-wicket total Test haul leaving us every bit as in awe as we were in tatters. But after he retired he became the greatest of broadcasters, and it was during our summer that we saw just how knowledgeable he was about the game, how much he loved it, how much he himself was loved by everyone around him and what a bundle of fun he was to spend time with.

More than that, he had a way of deconstructing every revolution of a cricket ball in a manner most of us barely believed possible. If he had left us dumbfounded as a bowler, he made us more understanding of the game thanks to his presentation skills. Whether alongside Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton or Ian Botham and Michael Holding, Warne stood out as the one who would be able to sum up exactly what was happening in the match at that moment in time.

Sky Sports made the wonderful move to petition the England and Wales Cricket Board for their regular booth at the Home of Cricket to be renamed ‘The Shane Warne Commentary Box’. After 23 overs the entire crowd was raised to their feet for 23 seconds of applause for Warne, a nod to his international shirt number back in the day.

It only felt right that he was commemorated in such a way, because he wasn’t just the hero of Australian cricket fans of several generations, he was also the life and soul of our summer party post-2007. We thought we still had another 20 years of him regaling us with incredible stories and fascinating insights, but that turned out not to be the case.

So let’s continue to celebrate Shane Warne. Because while we have all been left in bemusement over the three months since the horrible news of his passing, it is in these moments that we as English cricket fans will miss him the most.

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