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Great Southern Stand at MCG to be named after Shane Warne


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Prime Minister Scott Morrison offers Warne’s family a state funeral

The Great Southern Stand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is set to be renamed the SK Warne stand in perpetuity following the sudden death of Australian cricket legend Shane Warne at the age of 52.
Warne died while on holiday in Thailand on Friday leading to a global outpouring of tributes and emotion.

On a grey dreary Saturday in Melbourne, not dissimilar to the one where Warne claimed his 700th Test wicket in front of adoring fans in the Southern Stand at the MCG on Boxing Day 2006, Melburnians gathered around his statue outside the Members’ at the MCG to lay flowers, cricket balls, beers, pies and cigarettes as a tribute to Warne.

Victoria’s minister for tourism and sport, Martin Pakula, confirmed that he had consulted with Victoria premier Daniel Andrews, MCC Trust chairman Steve Bracks and MCC CEO Stuart Fox and they had resolved to honour Warne by renaming the Southern Stand in his honour.

“We will be renaming the Great Southern Stand the S.K. Warne stand and we’ll be doing that as soon as we possibly can,” Pakula said. “I can think of no finer tribute to the greatest cricketer this state has produced than to rename the stand the S.K. Warne stand and no matter whatever happens to that stand in the future whether it’s rebuilt, refurbished, renovated, it will remain the S.K. Warne stand in perpetuity because his legend will live in perpetuity.”

Cricket Victoria is also looking at ways it can honour Warne as there were already plans to potentially rename a stand at the Junction Oval in his name prior to his passing.

Premier Andrews and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison have also contacted the Warne family to offer a state funeral but the family has been given some time to work out what they would like to do.

Cricket Australia chairman Dr Lachlan Henderson confirmed he had spoken to the Prime Minister directly on Saturday regarding Warne and believed renaming the Southern Stand at the MCG was a fitting tribute.

“That would seem a very appropriate acknowledgement of Shane Warne,” Henderson said. “He’s been an icon of the game, obviously with St Kilda Cricket Club, Victoria, our Australian team for so many years. He also played cricket all around the world. So it’s a very fitting tribute.

“Right here this morning, driving past a junior cricket ground in Victoria, I saw a young leg-spin bowler bowl a beautifully flighted ball that beat the bat and I’m sure someone was looking down on that young bowler as he embarks on his career.”

The Australia women’s team wore two black armbands in memory of Warne, and Rod Marsh, who also passed away Friday, and observed a minute’s silence ahead of their Women’s World Cup opener against England in New Zealand. England also wore a black armband in tribute to both men.

Henderson confirmed that Australia’s men’s team, who wore a black armband and observed a minute’s silence ahead of day one of the first Test with Pakistan in Rawalpindi on Friday in memory of Marsh, would do the same for Warne ahead of day two on Saturday.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo



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