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MELBOURNE — Shane Warne cuts a svelte figure these days, but his time as a more rotund player were recalled when a bronze statue of the spin-bowling great was unveiled at Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday.
The 42-year-old made a much-publicised return to cricket after a short retirement at the MCG last weekend in Australia’s revamped domestic Twenty20 competition.
But it was the 708 Test wickets — he grabbed his 700th at the MCG — that earned Warne a place alongside 10 other Australian sporting greats outside the most famous sporting venue in his home city.
“It’s 300 kilos that statue, it’s pretty lifelike for when I played,” Warne joked to reporters after the unveiling.
“It’s a great honour … I’m very proud.”
Despite having retired from the Test arena for nearly four years, Warne remains one of his country’s most popular cricketers and his return was a huge boon to the new “Big Bash” series.
After a quiet first match, he showed he could still produce some magic on the pitch in his second outing for the Melbourne Stars against the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba on Tuesday.
Fitted with a microphone by the TV broadcaster when bowling to Brendon McCullum, Warne said he thought the New Zealander would sweep the next delivery and that he “might try to slide one in there … fast”.
He duly bowled the batsmen around his legs with the ball hitting the off-stump, leaving McCullum lauding the Australian’s “genius”.
“He’s still got it. He’s the oracle isn’t he?” he said. — Reuters.