Beer, cigarettes and meat pie: Fans mourning the disappearance of Shane Warne leave offerings at the spin legend’s statue outside MCG

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melbourne: Beneath the one and a half larger than life bronze statue of Shane Warne, stunned fans in his hometown of Melbourne made votive offerings of flowers, beer, cigarettes and a meat pie on Saturday, remembering a flawed hero whose outsized skills and personality transcended cricket.

When the ‘King of Spin’ attended the unveiling of his likeness outside his beloved Melbourne cricket ground over a decade ago, he joked that the ‘wonderful’ result made the ‘about four hours’ that the sculptor had spent measuring between his nose and his ears. worthy of interest.

But joking aside, Warne said he relishes the idea that the statue will be a future point of reference – a gathering place for ordinary Australians.

“It’s a pretty incredible walk to the MCG for all you do,” he said. “So having a place here where people can meet and say ‘I’ll meet you at the Shane Warne statue’ will be nice.”

Photos of Shane Warne and bottles of beer are placed in front of the Shane Warne statue outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne. PA

Now, on a damp Saturday morning a decade later, fans have arranged to meet “at the statue of Shane Warne” to mark his untimely death at the age of 52 and join in their shared grief.

“I’m not even a big fan of cricket,” John Haddad said, “but I’ve met him before and he hasn’t changed much in age. It gets to me.”

For much of the past 30 years, Warne the Man has been a point of reference that has brought Australians together.

From his 1992 Test debut against India to his incisive commentary – now as much a part of the Australian summer soundscape as children laughing on the beach or the click of the bat on the ball.

In the meantime, he has captured the imagination of countless cricketers and set the world of sport on fire.

“It was quite devastating to lose a childhood hero,” said Andy Smith, who came to the MCG to lay a bouquet and pay his respects.

“Everyone was here when he was a kid and watched the cricket shows, especially the lunch break shows, where he would come out and show off his bowling technique. It was always amazing to watch.”

“He was a hero to a lot of kids, I think,” said Smith, who particularly remembered witnessing Warne’s historic 700th wicket and retirement.

Most Australians of a certain age particularly remember where they were for Warne’s ‘Ball of the Century’ against England’s Mike Gatting – a performance so special, so confusing that it was the subject of a scientific article.

“I was in China at the time and watching TV and when they showed this clip,” Chris Morrow said.

“Here I was in the middle of Qingdao saying ‘whoop, whoop, whoop,’ that was the greatest moment.”

He and a friend wanted to come to the MCG to pay tribute to the cricketing rock star – famous for his hard life off the pitch as much as his prowess.

They dropped off a few beloved items from Warne – a “meat pie from a gas station, a pack of Winfield Blue (cigarettes) and half a dozen VBs (beers)”.

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