Srinagar: As the world mourns the death of Shane Warne, Kashmir remembers the Australian cricket legend’s encouragement to the seven-year-old spin wizard.
Four years before a video of a seven-year-old boy’s spin bowling had caught many eyeballs. Journalist Mufti Islah had tweeted the video and tagged Warne. “Easily ball of the century. A googly that turns a meter and a half. @ShaneWarne take a look. You have some competition,” Islah had said.
A few months later in December 2018, legend responded with thumbs up. “This is outstanding! Well bowled young man ,” he tweeted.
Later Warne discussed boy’s bowling on Fox TV. “Thanks for this. Will share this with the young kid in Kashmir. He will be over the moon,” Islah said.
Earlier today, the cricket world slipped into a shock after Warne died of a heart attack. He was 52.
Warne’s management released a brief statement in the early hours of Saturday (AEDT), that he passed away in Koh Samui, Thailand, of a suspected heart attack.
“Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived,” the statement reads.
“The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course,” the statement adds.
Adored by millions around the world, Warne is considered by many as the greatest bowler to ever play the game.
His illustrious international career spanned 15 years and saw him take 708 Test wickets – the most ever by an Australian and only behind Muttiah Muralitharan in the all-time standings.
“The game of cricket has lost what I consider a university of leg-spin bowling today. I was inspired by his bowling from the start of my career and it was always a privilege to play against him. My deepest condolences are with Warne’s family and loved ones. #ShaneWarne https://t.co/Uht87qDcJ5,” former Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi said.
Gary Lineker led the tributes on Twitter, writing: “Terribly saddened and shocked to hear the news that Shane Warne has died. The greatest spin bowler of all time. Can’t quite believe it. RIP Shane.”
Fellow footballer Stan Collymore followed suit as he tweeted: “My goodness, Shane Warne has died. 52 years old, this is truly awful news. Rest in peace Ledge.”
Graeme Fowler, who played in 21 Test matches for England, wrote: “RIP Shane Warne. The greatest spinner ever, and fantastic company.
“The brightest lights burn out faster.”
Indian Cricket Team opener Shikhar Dhawan echoed Fowler’s sentiment: “Sad, speechless, and completely shocked. An incredible loss to cricket. I have no words. Thank you for everything you’ve done for the sport.
“Rest in Peace, Shane Warne. Sending my condolences to his loved ones..”
Former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer expressed his sorrow at the news, writing: “Whenever he came to the wicket, change came over the game of Cricket” My mind just cannot accept that Shane Warne is no more. Gone too soon. Thoughts and prayers with his family and friends.RIP Warnie”
Pakistan star Muhammad Rizwan also paid tribute to Warne and sent his thoughts to the Australian’s loved ones: “Sharing in the sadness of the cricket world on the demise of legend Shane Warne. Truly the end of an era. I pray his family, friends, and fans find peace and comfort in this time of grief. #respect”
England’s Barmy Army, the official England cricket supporters club who were scorned by Warne on many occasions in the Ashes, paid their respects.
“Simply can’t believe we are writing this. RIP Shane Warne, one of the game’s best characters and finest bowlers,” the group wrote on Twitter. “Forever etched in Ashes history.”