MELBOURNE [AUSTRALIA]: Cricket Australia has revealed details of a plan to honour Shane Warne during the upcoming Boxing Day Test against South Africa in Melbourne. Warne tragically passed away in Thailand at the age of 52 earlier this year and the Boxing Day contest will be the first Test match played at the home ground of the champion leg-spinner since his passing.
Cricket Australia have a host of tributes planned during the Test, with both teams set to don Warne's famous floppy white hat at the national anthem ceremony prior to the start of the match.
There will also be a special highlights package of Warne played on the MCG screen and on broadcast during the day, while his famous Test cap number of 350 will be painted square of the wicket for the entirety of the match. Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said it was important for fans to be able to pay tribute to Warne and recognise the feats he achieved throughout his career.
"Shane is an icon to cricket fans globally for the greatness of his cricketing achievements, his charisma and his infectious enthusiasm for the game," Hockley said. "His place as a legend of Australian and world sport is assured. Whilst we continue to mourn his passing, it is fitting that we honour Shane at his beloved Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
Shane became recognisable not only through his genius and mastery of the art of leg spin, but also his floppy hat and zinc, so we encourage fans to remember Shane by wearing their own floppy hat and zinc to Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test. I know I speak for the whole cricket community in saying that our thoughts continue to be with Shane's family and friends and particularly his children Brooke, Jackson and Summer, " added Nick Hockley.
The Australia great claimed a total of 708 Test wickets during his illustrious career and many of his greatest moments came at the iconic Melbourne ground. Warne picked up his 700th Test wicket when he bowled England captain Andrew Strauss in 2006.
The stand at the southern end of the arena was renamed the Shane Warne Stand earlier this year as a tribute to the cricketing great.