Cricket’s greatest showman will be given a befitting public farewell, with Shane Warne’s family accepting a state funeral in the city that most adored him.
Two days after the suspected heart attack that killed Warne at age 52, Australia and world sport was still in shock on Sunday.
Australia’s players in Pakistan continued to wear a black armband in his honour, with the memory of Warne hovering over both them and the women’s team in New Zealand.
Details of Warne’s funeral are yet to be confirmed, but the acceptance of a state funeral mean the event will give the public the chance to offer a final farewell.
No-one loved crowds more than Warne.
He often played up to them, while his efforts to try and stop a minor riot at the MCG in in 1999 showed the influence he had over them.
The stadium could be one potential option, the same ground at which he tore apart the West Indies in 1992 to announce himself on home soil, took his Test hat-trick and 700th wicket at.
“I’ve spoken with the Warne family again today and they have accepted my offer of a State Funeral to remember Shane,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews tweeted on Sunday afternoon.
“It will be an opportunity for Victorians to pay tribute to his contribution to his sport, to our state and the country.
“Details will be finalised in coming days.”
Warne’s body meanwhile remains in Thailand awaiting an autopsy, with those closest to the legspinner detailing the health kick and liquid diet he’d recently began.
Thai police have also detailed that Warne had been suffering chest pains before arriving in the country and that he had asthma.
The Pakistan tour and women’s World Cup will mean the majority of Australia’s players won’t be able to attend the funeral.
But they are playing with Warne on their mind.
Alana King’s thumping of her black armband after deceiving Tammy Beaumonth with flight and beating her with turn to have her stumped in the women’s win over England was evidence of that.
So too Marnus Labuschagne, who found some turn on the Rawalpindi wickets.
“I felt a little bit special, being able to bowl leggies out there,” Labuschagne said after day two.
Just once, the world’s top-ranked bat and part-time bowler felt the connection with Warne as one dipped and gripped just enough to excite the senses.
And in doing so, he made the comparison that every Australian who’s tried the art of leg spin in the past three decades has made.
“I actually said to Smudge (Steve Smith), ‘that’s Warne-like’ when one spun real big,” smiled Labuschagne, who took 1-53 before Pakistan declared at 4-476.
“Obviously there was nowhere near as much turn (compared to Warne).
“But I turned a few which gave me a little bit excitement.”