Sydney: Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has vowed to keep legendary spinner Shane Warne’s legacy alive and “pass on some of the things I learnt from him” to the future generation.
Warne, one of the greatest cricketers of all time, passed away of a suspected heart-attack while he was vacationing on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand. The Victorian state has planned a state funeral for the spin wizard.
Speaking to ‘The ICC Review’, Ponting was overcome with by emotions and described how the tragedy had rocked him, and revealed what he wished he could have said to Warne before he passed away.
“He was a teacher through his commentary and I’ve seen hundreds of photos over the last 24 hours of all the spinners he worked with,” Ponting said. “He helped (current Australian vice-captain) Steve Smith in his younger days and (Afghanistan spinner) Rashid Khan has been catching up with him - just imagine the conversations they would have had.
“So I feel it is now up to me whenever I get an opportunity to just let the world know what he was like and pass on some of the things I learnt from him,” said Ponting.
Recollecting the turn of events the moment he was informed about Warne’s death, Ponting said that only a few hours back he got the news of another Australian legend, Rod Marsh, passing away at 74, and that when his wife informed him about Warne’s demise he simply “couldn’t believe it”.
“I woke up nice and early I was getting the kids ready to go to netball and Rianna (Ponting’s wife) looked at her phone and told me the news about Warney. I grabbed the phone out of her hand to look at it and I couldn’t believe it and it is still the same now.
“It was so raw to me I couldn’t really speak and every time I thought about him and our experiences and our journey together and I just got short for words. Even today I have had the TV on watching the tributes, but every time I hear his voice I have to turn it off.
“It’s been a tough couple of days, but it makes us a bit more aware of things I probably need to pay more attention to and there is stuff there for all of us to learn,” said Ponting.
Ponting played alongside Warne for more than a decade-and-a-half with the duo sharing numerous Test wins, memorable series victories and a successful World Cup campaign in 1999.
But while Ponting lived in the same Melbourne suburb as Warne and even caught up for the occasional game of golf, the former Australian skipper said there was one thing he will now never get to share with his long-time friend.
“I would say just how much I love him,” Ponting said, when asked what he would say to Warne if he had the chance for one final conversation. “I didn’t say that to him and I wish I did.
“It was very rare for Warney just to be sitting at home. He would always try and find time for his friends and his family and that was one of his great strengths. The more people talking about Shane, the thing that will shine through will be just how loyal he was to family and friends and how loved he was. He had the energy that drew you to him and that is a trait that not a lot of people have,” added Ponting.