A bronze statue of former Australian bowling legend Shane Warne was unveiled at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Thursday.
Warne, who is currently playing for the Melbourne Stars in the KFC T20 Big Bash League, spoke of his pride at having a permanent home at the MCG.
“I want to thank the Melbourne Cricket Club very much for making me the first statue in the Australia Post Avenue of Legends,” Warne said in front of hundreds gathered for the unveiling.
“It’s a great sculpture and I think Louis Laumen has done a wonderful job. I’m very, very proud of it, so I’m glad we sat for there for about four hours measuring between my nose and my ears, so thank you very much.”
“I also thank Australia Post for getting behind this fantastic project. It’s a pretty amazing walk down to the MCG for whatever it is you’re doing, so to have a place here where people can meet and say ‘I’ll meet you at the Shane Warne statue’ will be nice.”
“To everyone who turned out today, I really appreciate it. It means a lot to me that everyone’s here and I think the public has always supported me whenever I’ve come onto bowl for Victoria or Australia.”
MCC president Paul Sheahan said that Warne deserved his place among the pantheon of greats who have a permanent place at the MCG.
“Shane Warne is undoubtedly the best spin bowler in Australian cricket history,” said Sheahan, who also played 31 Tests for Australia. “His record itself is phenomenal, but he also revived the art of leg-spin and inspired a generation.
“We are most grateful to Australia Post for supporting the sporting and cultural heritage of the MCG and surrounding precinct.”
Australia Post Managing Director and CEO Ahmed Fahour, a former Trustee of the MCG, said the Avenue of Legends would become a lasting monument to excellence in sport.
“We’re delighted that Shane Warne has been chosen as the first person to be immortalised in bronze in the Australia Post Avenue of Legends,” said Mr Fahour.
Warne joins 10 sporting greats with statues outside the MCG: Cricketers Sir Donald Bradman, Keith Miller, Bill Ponsford and Dennis Lillee, Australian Rules footballers Ron Barassi, Leigh Matthews, Dick Reynolds and Haydn Bunton and athletes Shirley Strickland and Betty Cuthbert.