Few Australians were more recognisable than Shane Warne, whose incredible playing career combined with his larger-than-life, off-field persona to turn him into a sporting super celebrity.
Warne heavily leaned into that status, but there were times he was trapped and wanting to slide under the radar, Fox Cricket colleague, and friend, Kerry O’Keeffe says.
O’Keeffe remembered the cricket legend during lunch on day three of the first Test, giving his first-hand insight into what it was like to be the greatest leg-spinner of all time.
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Having worked alongside him for more than three years with Fox Cricket, O’Keeffe said that Warne lived a tough life as he was always in demand.
“It was not easy to live in his world,” the former Test spinner and Fox Cricket analyst said.
“It was such a — like a birdcage where he seemed trapped to a certain extent.
“If you got in a cab with him, suddenly the cab had 10 people looking for a selfie trying to hold up the cab, going ‘Warnie, you legend’.”
O’Keeffe said that Warne was often happy to live that life, but there were moments that the attention grated on him.
“He accepted that life, which was life under the microscope 24 hours a day,” he said.
“I love anonymity. Sometimes, he preferred anonymity, but he didn’t get it much, did he? Because every time he walked into the room, the room stopped because of SK.”
Isa Guha added: “Everyone wanted a piece of him.”
Warne was taking a break in Thailand when he was found unresponsive in a villa on Friday and could not be revived.
His body will be flown home for a state funeral after Thai authorities complete an autopsy.