Shane Warne’s bronze statue unveiled outside hallowed MCG

December 22nd, 2011 - 1:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 22 (IANS) Shane Warne was immortalised in bronze Thursday with a new statue of the legendary Australian cricketer being unveiled outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Almost five years to the day after Warne claimed his 700th Test wicket, the legendary spinner was there to see the marvellous creative work of sculptor Louis Lauman.

The 2.5-metre statue recreates his classic action in his heydays.

Warne’s fiance Elizabeth Hurley, his children Brooke, Summer and Jackson, her son Damian and his former captain Mark Taylor were among the hundred-odd people present at the unveiling.

“That’s 300 kg, so it’s pretty lifelike from when I played,” Warne joked after the unveiling and congratulated the sculptor for making a very good likeness that he was proud of.

“It’s fantastic Louis. Congratulations mate, you’ve done a great job,” he said.

“Very proud, it’s a great honour. It’s sort of weird seeing yourself up there, but it’s a very good likeness.”

On the statue’s grip of the ball, Warne said it looked like a leg-break.

Warne joins cricket greats Sir Donald Bradman, Keith Miller and Dennis Lillee in having his statue erected on the Parade of Champions outside the hallowed ground, the Australian media reported.

Recalling how Warne brought a sense of fun and flair to the Australian team, Taylor said no matter how many runs the team had on the board, with him there they looked enough.

“When Warney came into the side in the early 1990s the game was dominated by fast bowlers,” Taylor recalled.

“We had a guy who could, at the end of the game, make as big an impact as the West Indies fast bowlers could at the start.

“No matter how many runs we had on the board, with Shane Warne in the side we could still make them enough to win the game.”

Lauman said it was hard to put the new, slim, Big Bash version of Warnie out of his mind.

He spent hours studying images of Warne in his classic bowling action before casting the legend in bronze.

“It was a challenge for me because Warnie is so fresh in everybody’s memory and I guess everybody has their opinion of what it (the stateue) should look like,” Lauman said.

“You couldn’t do it the way he is now. He is a different figure and has done a lot of work to get as trim as possible, probably to the point of being underweight,” he said.

“But I have tried to be as respectful as possible. It is a very striking pose.”

It took six months for the sculptor to complete his creation, moulded carefully in his backyard studio after quite literally sizing Warne up earlier this year.

The ceremonial unveiling raised eyebrows and awkward laughter as MCC president Paul Sheahan jokingly linked Hurley to refugees on Christmas Island as she looked on.

Sheahan was recalling Warne’s 700th wicket in the 2006-07 Ashes series when he referred to Hurley.

“I was here the day he took his 700th wicket here at the ‘G when he bowled Andrew Strauss, now England captain, in front of 89-plus thousand adoring fans. Sorry, Elizabeth, I know you’re English, but you are now an honorary Australian and, incidentally, I’m very pleased that you didn’t need to come via Christmas Island,” Sheahan said.

The sculpture is the first to be commissioned by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) as part of the Australia Post Avenue of Legends series, which will see a minimum of five statues placed in Yarra Park over the next five years.

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