Shane Warne death: Sussex players, coaches and fans pay fulsome tributes

He might have played for Hampshire rather than Sussex during his spell in English cricket - but Australian spin legend Shane Warne was one of those cricketers who was universally loved by all, whether he was playing for your team or the opposition.

Shane Warne passes on some top tips to young players in Brighton last October
Shane Warne passes on some top tips to young players in Brighton last October

So it's no surprise that plenty of players, coaches and supporters across Sussex have been among those paying tribute the legend, who has died of a suspected heart attack aged just 52.

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Those who met him at that session were among those paying tribute today with Alexia Walker, Director of Cricket for Aldridge Cricket Academy, saying: "Unbelievably sad news. Such a legend of the game. We were so grateful for the time he spent with our students just a couple of months ago. RIP."

Simon Toft, whose son Toby was one of those to benefit from that Warne masterclass, said: "Hard to believe he's gone, but the day he spent with the students @Aldridge_CA will live long in their memory and hopefully inspire them to improve and achieve."

Sussex T20 skipper Luke Wright, who played alongside Warne for Melbourne Stars, said: "Shocked and incredibly sad to hear that Shane Warne has passed away. It was a dream come true playing along side him for the @StarsBBL. Thoughts with his family. RIP Shane."

Rashid Khan, who plays T20 cricket for Sussex, said: "Can’t believe it! Extremely sad on Shane Warne’s departure. Was a true legend of the game and an inspiration to many cricketers around the globe. RIP"

Chichester Priory Park player and coach Sean Dobbs summed up the feelings of many in recalling how Warne's bowling had inspired a whole generation of cricketers - in particular through his famous 'ball of the century' to Mike Gatting He said: "As a 10-year-old boy I remembered watching this bowl bowled by a magician and thereafter being transfixed every time he had the ball in his hand.

"Genius, legend and box office are terms bandied around these days and this man was all three and then some. We won't see his like again, a true maverick and quite probably the greatest bowler of all-time. Desperately sad day for cricket and cricket lovers the world over. RIP to the king."

Sussexcricketbadger said on Twitter: "Genuinely devastated. The GOAT in the pantheon of incredible spinners and one of my favourite ever cricketers to watch play on TV. Finally seeing him a few times live was incredible."

His former county Hampshire said: "We are devastated to hear the news that former Hampshire Cricket captain and legend Shane Warne has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. One of the greatest. Rest in peace, Shane."

The shock news united the whole cricket world in grief and Ian Botham, Brian Lara, Viv Richards and Kumar Sangakkara were among those to pay heartfelt tributes to Warne.

Warne's death came hours after he had tweeted his own tribute to another Australian legend, Rod Marsh, who has died aged 74.

Sussex Newspaper sports editor Steve Bone says: Before coming to work on sport in Sussex I did the same in Hampshire and was lucky enough to be one of the reporters covering Hants CCC when Warne was captain. He always - always - made time to speak to the local press after games, whether Hants had won or lost. Sometimes he had the hump with the team or the result, but he was always polite and gracious.

He dragged Hants kicking and screaming into a new era, raising their performance levels and turning plenty of games in their favour single-handedly with his own bowling or his clever captaincy. He has a stand named after him at the Ageas Bowl and I know of no-one who objected to the plan.

As for his Australian service, it's simply astonishing. And the greatest Test series ever played - the 2005 Ashes series - would have been won a lot more comfortably by England but for Warne. That was one battle he lost, but Warne was one of life's winners and will never be forgotten for what he did for Australia. cricket and everyone he represented. RIP Shane, one of the true all-time cricketing giants."