'Shane Warne was an icon' – England coach Jones pays tribute to late cricket great

By Sports Desk March 07, 2022

England rugby union coach Eddie Jones declared fellow Australian Shane Warne as an "icon" following the former cricketer's death at the age of 52 last week.

Warne was found unresponsive in his villa in Thailand on Friday after a suspected heart attack.

Thai police previously claimed Warne had complained of chest pains prior to his passing, and have since confirmed he died of natural causes.

Speaking at a news conference previewing England's Six Nations clash with Ireland on Saturday, Jones spoke warmly of Warne, saying: "Yes, terrible time, mate. Shane was an icon, wasn't he?

"He was a player that scaled the heights. He had his issues off the field, but he changed the game of cricket.

"There was someone on the radio I was listening to the other day who said that when he went to school, everyone was trying to bowl leg-spinners. They spent most of their time trying to get the balls off the top of the nets, because they couldn't bowl them.

"He did a trade that was physically the opposite of what you're supposed to do, for a long period of time, and became the top Test match wicket-taker.

"I was lucky enough to meet him on a couple of occasions. I remember we had a net session, with the Wallabies, against the Australian side, when they were right at the top, and Warne was at the top. We had a guy called Wendell Sailor – he was a larger-than-life character.

"He was batting against Stuart MacGill, who was the other leg-spinner. Wendell was coming in and smashing MacGill out of the nets.

"Warnie grabbed the ball and winked to the guys behind him, and said, 'Watch this'. He gave him two floated up and let Wendell smash him. The third one he bowled a bit shorter, a bit faster and he was bowled. Then he told Wendell to go where he needs to go, which I thought was a great little insight into such a wonderful sportsman."

Warne's body is due to be returned to Australia on Tuesday, where he is to receive a state funeral in Victoria.

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