When the great Shane Warne passed away last year, millions of Indians mourned along with Australia and it felt as if we had lost one of our own, the Indian prime minister said.
By: Shubham Ghosh
Indian prime minister on Tuesday (23) remembered the late Australian cricketer Shane Warne during his address at a massive community event at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney where he is currently on a three-day state visit. He said millions of Indians mourned the death of the legendary cricketer after he passed away in March last year.
Stressing on the strong ties between India and Australia, both of which are cricketing powerhouses, Modi said, “Our cricket relations have completed 75 years. Our off-the-field friendship is as profound as the interesting cricket matches on the cricket field… Last year, when the great Shane Warne passed away, millions of Indians mourned along with Australia. It felt as if we had lost one of our own.”
Warne, arguably the greatest leg spinner the world has seen, passed away in Koh Samui in Thailand. He was found unresponsive in his villa and could not be revived. He was 52. Warne died the same day as another Australian legend Rod Marsh passed away the same day and Warne condoled the senior’s demise.
“Our lifestyles may differ, but Yoga now connects us. We have been friends for a long time because of cricket. Tennis and films, however, are now connecting us. We may prepare food in different ways, but Masterchef has brought us together,” Modi said in his address.
“Many women cricketers from Australia participated for the first time in the Women’s Premier League (the women’s equivalent of IPL). It’s not only in moments of joy that we stand together, but a true friend is also there in times of sorrow,” he said.
Warne was a popular character in India and was the first captain to win the Indian Premier League crown when he led Rajasthan Royals to lift the inaugural edition in 2008. His on-field duel with former India batter Sachin Tendulkar has also been a top attraction of India-Australia cricket clashes. Warne had made his Test debut against India in Sydney in 1992 and also played his last match against England at the same ground in 2007.
Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese, who was present at the event in Sydney, had attended the first day of a Test match between their countries at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad in the western Indian state of Gujarat in March where the two leaders handed over the caps to the captains of their respective countries — Rohit Sharma of India and Steve Smith of Australia — at the start of the game.