Shane Warne dies: From enemies to friends – Vaughan hails 'greatest ever cricketer'

By Sports Desk March 04, 2022

Former England captain Michael Vaughan expressed disbelief following the death of Shane Warne, describing his Ashes rival as the "greatest ever cricketer".

Warne has died at the age of 52, having been found unresponsive in his villa in Thailand on Friday.

Tributes have flooded in from across the cricketing world, with Sachin Tendulkar, Ian Botham and Ben Stokes among those to post their memories of the Australian superstar.

Warne ranks second for most Test dismissals, with his 708 wickets only bettered by fellow spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, and he claimed 195 victims in Ashes outings alone. He was also a victor in seven such series.

Vaughan and Warne memorably faced off in the 2005 Ashes, with England getting the better of a star-studded line-up before Australia regained the urn in 2006-07.

While the pair were regularly embroiled in a battle on the pitch, Vaughan reflected on the friendship he developed with Warne after the two finished their playing days and moved into the commentary box.

"I can't tell you how hard it is to get this down in words," Vaughan wrote on Instagram. "It just doesn't feel real to be talking about someone who once was an enemy on the pitch to one who became a great friend off it.

"Shane was the greatest ever cricketer but more than that his character lit up every dressing room, comm box, bar, golf club and friendship group. His energy and positivity was beyond anyone I have ever known.

"He was loyal beyond loyal, at a time I needed support he was the first to pick up the phone and offer advice and help, and the utmost support.

"I will never ever forget the warmth he and his family gave me this winter when I was down under for Christmas alone. To say I spent Warney's last Xmas with him and his family is so sad but one I will cherish."

Vaughan fondly recalled how Warne tucked in to lasagne sandwiches while everyone else had a traditional Christmas lunch.

He added: "That's Warney. The superstar, the greatest, friends to world superstars, everyone wanted to be around him, but ultimately he was just a normal guy who could do incredible things.

"Leg spin is the hardest skill in our game and he mastered it. He became a great poker player as he loved gambling, but it was more the competition and trying to put the psych into his opponents that he loved. Just like when he bowled."

Vaughan said his thoughts went out to Warne's parents and his three children.

"We are all thinking of you. I am absolutely gutted to have lost a great friend," Vaughan added. "One thing is for sure heaven will be a lively place now the King has arrived. Love ya Shane."

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