Cricket lost one of their greatest spin bowlers when Australian superstar Shane Warne passed away in Thailand from an apparent heart attack at the age of 52. Warne is most known for his “Ball of the Century” for Australia against England in the 1993 Ashes.

Shane Warne Cricket Australia Ashes Ball of the Century
Australia’s Shane Warne set the record with 195 wickets in the Ashes. (Image: Getty)

Warne was found dead in his island villa in Koh Samui, Thailand.

“Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived,” said a statement from agent Michael Cohen. “The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.”

During his 15-year career spanning 145 matches, Warne took 708 Test wickets which is second-best in all-time history.

In 1999, Warne led Australia to victory in the 50-over World Cup. In 2000, Warne earned a prestigious nod as one of the five Wisden cricketers of the 20th Century. He joined the likes of Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Jack Hobbs, Sir Garfield Sobers, and Sir Viv Richards.

In 2007, Warne retired from international cricket after he was a part of Australia’s 5-0 sweep against England in the Ashes. In 36 tests, he set the Ashes record for with 195 wickets. He spent the last bit of his illustrious career playing Twenty20 until he finally retired from cricket in 2013 and pivoted to broadcasting.

Warne: Ball of the Century

In the 1990s, Warne brought back the leg-spin, which was super popular prior to the 1970s and declined in the 1980s.

In 1993, Warne unleashed the “Ball of the Century” against England batter Mike Gatting at Old Trafford. During his first delivery at the Ashes, Warne had pitched outside leg stump, yet nicked the top of the stump. Warne took 34 wickets during the 1993 Ashes and he led the Australians to a 4-1 victory over England.

Along with seamer Glenn McGrath, Warne and Australia were difficult to defeat in the 1990s.

Global Reactions from India, UK, Australia

As an international sportsman and star, the death of Warne affected millions of cricket fans and enthusiasts around the globe especially in India.

“Shocked, stunned & miserable,” tweeted India’s legendary Sachin Tendulkar. “Will miss you Warnie. There was never a dull moment with you around, on or off the field. Will always treasure our on field duels & off field banter. You always had a special place for India & Indians had a special place for you. Gone too young!”

Many of Warne’s fellow Aussies were stunned at the news of his death.

“Shane Warne was a once-in-a-century cricketer and his achievements will stand for all time,” said Pat Cummins, Australia men’s Test captain. “So many of us in the playing group grew up idolising him and fell in love with this great sport as a result.”

“Shane was one of the most talented and charismatic cricketers we have ever witnessed,” said Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley. “He loved cricket, had an extraordinarily astute understanding of the game and his influence and legacy will last for as long as it is played. We are in a state of complete shock at his sudden passing and our thoughts are with his family, his many friends and the legion of fans from all over the world who loved and admired Warnie for his unbelievable bowling skills, his humour, warmth and engaging personality.”