When it comes to famous cricketers (unless you’re a big fan!) there might be only one or two that you can name, and Shane Warne is almost certain to be one of them. There has maybe never been an Australian sport’s personality as big and bright as Shane’s to walk out onto the cricket pitch and with an international career spanning fifteen years, we were lucky enough to get a whole lot of time to get to know him.
Whilst controversy plagued Shane’s career, it’s important to remember him for his incredible sportsmanship too. It’s been a little over a year since his tragic passing in March of 2022, so we’re going to take a moment to remember the tour de force that was his life and legacy.
Shane’s First Steps
Born in 1969, Warne had a mostly unremarkable early childhood. He grew up in Victoria, Melbourne, and attended standard schooling all the way up to Grade 9, when he was offered a sports scholarship. He spent his final three years of high school honing his bowling skills and by the 1984 season, he was considered accomplished enough to represent the University of Melbourne as part of their youth cricket team. Already at this early stage, he was using the leg-spin bowl that he would later become so famous for.
His early career continued with many successes. In 1985 he was recruited by the Saint Kilda Cricket Club and played there for the next five years. Interestingly, he also took part in football training during the off-season, but it wasn’t long before his coach asked him to focus on cricket alone. Seeing his dedication, he was chosen to train in 1990 at the Australian Cricket Academy. This year of training got him noticed by Accrington cricket team in the United Kingdom. He spent a year playing for them professionally and his incredible bowling skills were recognized. However, it was commonplace for teams at the time to require their players to both bat and bowl, and with Shane’s clear prowess being in bowling alone, he was let go just a year later.
Shane Sets Records
Following on from his flying start in the cricketing world, Shane quickly got to work setting records. He bowled for Australia during numerous international competitions, even setting the record for the most wickets taken by a bowler in test cricket. He held this record until 2007. As well as this, he helped the Australian team to victory in the 1999 Cricket world Cup.
He even scored 3,000 runs as a batsman in test cricket, proving to Accrington once and for all that he could indeed do both! All of these achievements earned Shane a permanent place in the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where a grandstand has been named in his honor.
Shane’s Poker Prowess
As well as being a dab hand on the pitch, Shane was also well known for commanding admiration at the poker table. He competed in numerous prestigious tournaments, including the Shane would be good at this game. It requires logic, guts, and the ability to bluff, all attributes that a great bowler ought to have. Overall, he took home more than $160,000 in live tournament winnings, which isn’t bad for a hobby!
Of course, those of us who are poker fans, we think that we could be as good or even better, as Shane did. But poker skills need practicing. The easiest way to do so is to watch online games as well as practice by yourself. Video poker is an easy introduction for beginners that allows you to focus on mastering your hand rankings, before moving onto the more specific strategy. Video poker provides an extra bonus too when playing at sites like Joe Fortune Bitcoin Casino, as new players can treat themselves to a generous sign-up bonus. Once you’ve mastered your hand rankings, you can move on to online poker and who knows, maybe you will collect more than Shane!
Controversy in the Media
Of course, as with any huge personality comes a little media controversy. Shane was often in the papers for his conduct off the pitch, though never for anything serious. He famously dated Elizabeth Hurley, which caused a media frenzy, especially when reports arose of him texting another woman. Despite this, Hurley moved into Shane’s expansive Brighton home and the two got engaged shortly afterward. As well as this, his relationship with Simone Callahan was also plagued by interference from the media, who spent hours looking for ‘dirt’ on the Australian vice-captain. This would eventually end their marriage.
Despite the hard time that he was given by the media, Shane never stopped using his position to better the lives of others. After retiring from his career on the cricket pitch, the star founded the Shane Warne Foundation, a charity that set out to improve the lives of children who were seriously unwell or came from underprivileged backgrounds. During its years of operation, the charity donated more than $450,000 to good causes, and even held a charity poker tournament to raise funds. As well as this, during the fallout from the Indian Ocean earthquake, Shane joined the humanitarian efforts to rebuild Sri Lankan’s homes.
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