Shane Warne was remembered as a cricketing genius as tens of thousands of people gathered at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to pay tribute to one of the sport’s finest players. A state memorial service was held on Wednesday for Warne, who is arguably the most decorated Australian player after Don Bradman. Warne died at a luxury resort in Thailand last month from a suspected heart attack, sending shockwaves across the cricket fraternity. He lived life king-size and ended his Test career with a whopping 708 wickets, and over 1000 plucks overall in international cricket.
A crowd-puller with millions of fans across the globe, Warne was adored and respected by the cricket fraternity as well. England Test skipper Joe Root even wanted Warne to coach his team before its 2021/22 Ashes debacle. Former England fast bowler Darren Gough has said Warne was repeatedly asked by Root to work with the England Test side.
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“He (Warne) wanted to do it (coach England) but says his loyalty towards Australia got in the way,” Gough told TalkSport.
“Joe Root, he tried to persuade Warnie to coach England in the build-up to the Ashes last winter. And Warnie, you could imagine the smile on his face. You could see he wanted to do it, but he also had that loyalty to Australia.
“But Joe kept asking him and asking him and asking him. And I thought he was getting closer and closer and closer, and he said, ‘Let me think about it, and I’ll give you a call.’ And then, two days after the tournament finished, Warnie texted me saying, ‘Have you got Joe’s number, by the way? I forgot to get his number.’ And I thought, ‘he’s gonna do it, he’s gonna do it’, and obviously it didn’t happen,” he further added.
Former captain Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood are currently filling the roles of director of cricket and coach respectively following the exit of Ashley Giles and Chris Silverwood. The departure of Silverwood following England’s humiliating 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia left Collingwood as the highest-ranked member of the backroom team.
Post the sacking of Silverwood, Warne had even confided to his friends about his aspiration to become England coach. “(His) passion and knowledge for the game is something to behold. He would have made a great coach. Having someone like Warne to take over the England cricket team, I think he would have done a terrific job,” former Australia captain Ricky Ponting had told fellow broadcaster Isa Guha on ‘The ICC Review’.
England have struggled in Test cricket over the last 12 months, managing to win just one of their past 17 matches. The side’s recent series loss versus West Indies extended England’s poor run to four successive Test series defeats.
Notably, there have been calls for Root to let go of the captaincy. He has led England in a record 64 Tests, winning 27 games — more than any other captain. However, he has also registered 26 defeats, which is also more than any other skipper.
Root was the obvious choice to lead England when Alastair Cook resigned as captain in 2017. But many including former skipper Nasser Hussain feel that the talented batter lacks an “instinctive feel for the game as captain”.