On Friday, Australian superstar and one of the greatest Test cricketers of all time Shane Warne died of a suspected heart attack aged just 52, sparking a global outpouring of grief from the sporting world. As Australia awoke to the news on the early hours of Saturday, fans laid flowers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where there is a bronze statue in Warne’s honour.

Cricketers from the past and the present including Sachin Tendulkar, Viv Richards, Ben Stokes, Virat Kohli and Joe Root paid their tributes to the late leg-spinner.

‘Stunned, shocked, miserable’: Sachin Tendulkar leads tributes as legendary Shane Warne dies at 52

Devastated, in disbelief and shock: Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma pay tributes to Shane Warne

Warne’s former Australian team mates - from Ricky Ponting to Glenn McGrath, from Shane Watson to Brett Lee - also poured their hearts out in touching tributes to the Wizard of Oz.

Ian Healy

“To score runs for long periods against Shane Warne with such accuracy, coupled with the skill and ability to spin a ball so well, was nearly impossible. Not too many players lasted five hours against our attack with Warne in it,” said the former wicket-keeper batter in a conversation with Fox Sports.

“What made it great, I think his accuracy gave him great confidence and then he could spend his energy talking to the batsmen at the other end.

“Putting challenges out to them, criticising them, and even most dumbfounding was complimenting them. And I got to see the batsmen’s reactions from my end of the pitch.”

Andrew Symonds

“He was just a generous man,” Symonds told Fox Sports.

He added: “I remember, I had been in and out of the side for a while. He came to me one day and he said, ‘Roy, you know you can do this aye?’ And I said, ‘mate, it’s an intimidating place the Australian dressing shed and I had doubts. He said, ‘Roy, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s time for you to start asking some questions and don’t be afraid.’ And I tell people that regularly.”

Also read: Shane Warne (1969-2022): A short walk to genius