Cricket Legend Shane Warne Dead, Spinner Engulfed in 1998 Betting Controversy

Australian cricket legend Shane Warne is dead at the age of 52 after a suspected heart attack. Less than 24 hours ago, Warne expressed his condolences on Twitter for Rod Marsh’s unexpected death, which was also blamed on a heart attack.

Australia’s Shane Warne acknowledges the crowd after the wicket of England’s Andrew Flintoff in 2006. Warne died today from a heart attack at the age of 52. (Image: Action Images)
Australia’s Shane Warne acknowledges the crowd after the wicket of England’s Andrew Flintoff in 2006. Warne died today from a heart attack at the age of 52. (Image: Action Images)

Warne is widely considered one of the strongest bowlers in cricket history. In 2000, he was named one of the five “Cricketers of the Century” by Wisden.

Warne’s distinguished career included 145 Test matches in which he achieved 708 wickets. The feat was the most wickets taken by a bowler in Test cricket until the mark was broken by Warne’s Sri Lankan rival, Muttiah Muralitharan, in December of 2007.

Warne began his professional career with Victoria, where he represented the Aussie state in the Marsh Sheffield Shield. His career blossomed while at Hampshire, one of 18 first-class county clubs in the England and Wales structure.

Warne’s later career involved stints with the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League and with the Melbourne Stars in the Australian Big Bash League’s Twenty20 format.

Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived,” a statement from Warne’s management company MPC Entertainment explained. “The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course.”

During his retirement, the wildly popular Warne partnered with 888poker to market the online poker brand in his native Australia.

Career Not Without Controversy

Shane Warne’s distinguished career encountered a couple of hiccups along the way.

In December of 1998, the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) revealed an internal investigation concluded that Warne and fellow Aussie cricketer Mark Waugh conspired with an illegal bookmaker. Sports officials alleged that Warne and Waugh tipped off an oddsmaker in Sri Lanka regarding pitch conditions prior to matches in exchange for monetary bribes.

The ACB said there was no evidence to suggest any further wrongdoing, such as throwing matches. The two were reportedly fined AU$15,000 each, which today is the equivalent of roughly AU$26,570.

Insiders said the fines levied exceeded the amount Warne and Waugh collected from the bookie.

One-Year Ban

Just five years later, Warne was suspended for a year by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after failing a drug test. The bad test came just a day before the 2003 ICC World Cup.

Warne denied doping, saying the bad test was because of taking a diuretic that his mother encouraged him to take in order to help his physical appearance. The cricket superstar maintained that the diuretic was ingested to assist in getting rid of his double chin.

I’d had a couple too many bottles of wine and had a few late nights,” Warne said at the time of his suspension. “I took a fluid tablet that was the first time she [his mother Brigitte] gave it to me. It was to get rid of a double chin.”

The Australian Cricket Board found Warne guilty of breaching the board’s drug code, which largely prohibits the use of diuretics, as the fluid-draining tablets have long been used to conceal the use of banned steroids.

Such a bad test typically garners a two-year suspension. But cricket officials opted to reduce Warne’s penalty to 12 months.

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