India captain Rohit Sharma and senior batter Virat Kohli gave heartfelt tributes to late Australia leg-spin legend Shane Warne on Saturday, the second day of the Test against Sri Lanka.
On Friday, Warne died of a suspected heart attack while staying in a villa at Koh Samui Island in Thailand. Warne’s sudden demise has left the cricketing world in a state of mourning, hours after another Australian great, wicketkeeper-batter Rodney Marsh died.
“Absolutely devastated to hear the news of Shane Warne passing away. It’s a huge, huge loss in our cricketing world. We all do understand the contribution of his into the cricketing world. He inspired a whole new generation of cricketers and did wonders with the ball; we all know about that.”
“It’s a huge, huge loss. As soon as we got to hear, it was extremely sad to hear. I want to give condolences to his family, his three children, friends and loved ones,” said Sharma before day two of the opening Test against Sri Lanka began on Saturday.
A visibly moved Kohli gave a moving tribute to Warne, considered as one of the greatest leg-spinners to have ever played the game. “We got this sad news last night; the demise of Shane Warne. Out of nowhere, to be honest. We carry on doing what we do in life. We think that everything is all about where we are involved in the present moment, all our troubles, things going wrong or things we look forward to.
“But realised so quickly that life is unpredictable and fickle; we just need to be grateful for all the moments we are alive. Passing at the age of 52 is something which is totally unexpected. Went far too early. I stand here with disbelief and shock because I got to know him off the field as well. I understood the charisma and persona he brought to every conversation he was a part of. From that, I could understand what he brought on the field as well.”
Players from both India and Sri Lanka observed a minute’s silence and were also seen donning the black armbands in memory of Marsh and Warne before day two began.
“Just an honest, honest man upfront. Any conversation you had; you could see the passion. When he spoke, he spoke so clearly and exactly what he was saying. He lived life king size. Just very grateful to have known him. For me, he is the greatest spinner to have ever played the game. It’s needless to say he will surely be missed.
“But I hope that we can put things in life in the right perspective knowing how unpredictable things are and be grateful for all these moments God has blessed us with to just be alive and healthy. My deepest condolences to his family and his close ones, his children, his parents. I know how difficult this moment is going to be. They have all of our support and they are in our thoughts. God bless the soul,” concluded Kohli.