Former Australia captain Greg Chappell paid a radiant tribute to Shane Warne on Monday, describing the spider legend first as an illusionist and then as a spinner, enchanting the world with his craft and taking it to a whole other level. Warne died at the age of 52 as a result of a suspected heart attack on Thailand’s Koh Samui island on Friday, leaving the world stunned and shocked.
“When I think of Shane Warne, I think of the words of American naturalist, poet and writer Henry David Thoreau: ‘It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see.’ Shane Warne was an illusionist first and a great leg-spin bowler second,” Chappell wrote in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I was lucky enough to get to know Shane well in his post-cricket days by playing numerous golf games with him at one of his favorite courses, Cathedral Lodge and Golf Club in Thornton, Victoria. You get to know someone quite well when you spend four hours continue with them on the golf course and then as many again during post-round replays.” Chappell said Warne was simply more than a great leg spinner, as he inspired a generation of cricketers to pick up his craft.
“Shane was more than just a leg spinner. He was an entertainer with tremendous charisma that attracted attention everywhere. His success brought millions of viewers to the game and brought the art of leg spinning to life.
“It also spawned a new generation of leg spinners who tried to run to the crease and rip it! What they didn’t have was Shane’s raw strength and native cunning, so few have reached great heights,” he said. Chappell, a former India coach, believes Warne’s public perception was “colored” and misunderstood.
“What you got with Shane wasn’t necessarily what you saw. You only got what he showed you. The impression most people had of him was colored by what they learned from the way he was portrayed in the media That often just touched the surface,” he wrote.
“Shane was the ultimate competitor. He loved games and he loved taking on an opponent where he could use his mental acuity and tremendous self-confidence. I have often experienced his uncanny ability to make the magic happen.
“He was so confident in his superpowers that he would usually falter if it didn’t come off. It was invariably written off to extreme bad luck. Some of his golf opponents tried to use this against him by telling him how unhappy he was, but it is hard to joke,” added Chappell.
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