Michael Vaughan – the 2005 Ashes-winning England captain – says Shane Warne was cricket’s greatest, writing an emotional column for The Telegraph.
“I can’t tell you how hard it is to get this down in words,” Vaughan wrote.
In his column, Vaughan described Warne’s “energy and positivity as beyond anyone I have ever known” and says his “mindset and mentality” is what separated him as a player.
Warne’s 708 Test wickets and match turning spells will forever be spoken about.
Shane Warne played in 8 Ashes. The only one he lost was in 2005 — it was his greatest series
Vaughan saw Warne at his best.
His 40 wickets at 19.92 and 249 runs at 27.66 during the 2005 Ashes kept Australia afloat in what proved to be their first loss against the Old Enemy in 18 years.
England claimed the five-match series 2-1.
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Without Warne in that series, Vaughan says England would have smashed Australia and he elevated Ricky Ponting’s side from a “good side” to a “great Australian side”.
“In 2005 he was gracious in defeat and always felt it was a privilege to have played in a great series. He took 40 wickets in those five Tests and his battle with Kevin Pietersen, and the rest of us, were a pleasure to be a part of. That series would not have the same resonance had it not been for Warne and his immense skill,” Vaughan wrote in The Telegraph.
“Without him we would have won 4-1 as well, that’s how much of an effect he had on the Aussies. That’s how good he was and that great Australian side was the best of its generation, possibly of any generation. Without him they would still have been a good side, but he made them great.”
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Vaughan, a member of Fox Cricket’s commentary team, spent the summer Down Under and enjoyed Christmas Day at Warne’s household.
Once again, the spin wonder turned high-stakes poker player, slid back into his other world, where the glitz and glamour made way for a simpler life.
“I spent Warnie’s last Christmas with him and his family,” Vaughan wrote.
“It is so sad to say that but it is something I will always cherish; all of us eating turkey, beef and the usual Christmas trimmings while the King of Spin stuck to his lasagne sandwiches plastered with butter.
“That was Warne: the superstar, the greatest and friend to world sporting superstars but also so ordinary and down to earth. Everyone wanted to be around him but ultimately he was just a normal guy who could do incredible things and led an amazing life.”
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Vaughan will remember his “immense” competitiveness and his ability to light up any room he went into, including the commentary box.
“It is impossible to imagine a world without Warnie,” he said.
“Going to Australia again will be so different. I am absolutely gutted to have lost a great friend. One thing is for sure heaven will be a lively place now the King has arrived.”