A state memorial service is being held to pay tribute to cricket legend Shane Warne, following his sudden death earlier this month.
The memorial service is being held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 30, the place where the legendary spinner took his 700th wicket.
Warne’s family have requested that public attendees come to the memorial dressed in their cricket gear ‘in recognition of Mr. Warne’s achievements and legacy.’
Warne’s children arrived at the MCG to cheers, closely followed by their mother, Shane’s ex-wife, Simone Callahan, who was dressed in a black suit and pillbox hat.
Giving the eulogy, Warne’s father Keith was composed, but choked at several points, saying he will remember the spin-bowler for his ‘unconditional love’ and said their family will never be the same without him.
‘Shane said of himself, ‘I smoked, I drank, and I played a little cricket.’ Mate, your mother and I can’t imagine a life without you,’ he said through tears.
‘You have been taken too soon and our hearts are broken. Thank you for all you did for us. And for being such a loving and caring son. Rest in peace, mate. Love you, Mum and Dad.’
Elton John performed a pre-recorded performance of ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’, with Warne’s family and dedicated it to Warne’s children, saying he wished he’d been able to perform in person.
Former England captain Nasser Hussein revealed how Warne would torment his team with both his bowling and sledging, as they played a famous moment of the King of Spin taking the former England captain’s wicket during an ODI match in the early 2000s.
Hussain thanked him for being a ‘friend’ and called him the ‘greatest bowler ever’, while Lara said he was always ‘honoured to be in your presence’.
Chris Martin from Coldplay then performed an acoustic version of ‘Yellow’ for Warne, from a jungle in Central America
‘It’s true, we are going to miss you. Oh, yeah, it’s true. We are going to miss you,’ the Coldplay lead singer said.
Warne’s close friends then hit the stage, including former St Kilda star Aaron Hamill who shared a hilarious story about his obsession with Netflix show Peaky Blinders.
‘He said, “I’ve got this great idea,” as he always did. He said, ‘I’ve sent off an email to the producers of Peaky Blinders.” He was a binge Netflix watcher. He loved it,’ Hamill told the crowd.
The audience burst out laughing, including close friend Michael Clarke.
Famous faces that were in attendance at the MCG, were AFL legends Garry Lyon and Sam Newman, former cricketers David Boon, Andrew Symonds, as well as Warne’s teammates Adam Gilchrist, Steve Waugh and Brett Lee.
Warne’s son Jackson was spotted outside the family’s Melbourne home earlier in the afternoon with vodka cruisers ahead of the 7pm service, 22-year-old was dressed in ACB cricket shorts from the early 2000s, possibly belonging to his late father.
Jackson said there was ‘no better place in the whole world’ to say goodbye to his father than the place where the King of Spin took his 700th test wicket.
‘It’s very special for a lot of us, especially our family,’ he said.
‘We’ve been lucky enough to come here (to the MCG) our whole lives and watch him play and put lots of hard work in on this very ground.
‘Dad always loved a crowd, putting on a performance … I think, sad day as it is, with more people here it won’t be as sad.’
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the United Kingdom will receive a livestream of the event.
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