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Shane Warne remembered as cricket's 'rock and roll' star

Shane Warne and Mark Nicholas were commentary colleagues after their respective playing careers ended and looked set for a long alliance.

Shane Warne remembered as cricket's 'rock and roll' star
Cricket Australia via Getty Images

Shane Warne brought a "rock and roll" spirit to cricket and his death is a "terrible" blow, commentary colleague Mark Nicholas said on Friday.

The sport has been jolted by the loss of Warne at the age of 52, who remained a major figure even though his playing days were long over.

Warne was a leg-spin maverick who had an exuberant character that helped to make him a natural broadcaster.

He thrived in his role as an expert analyst and was a popular presence in the role, bringing to bear the experience of his 145 Test matches and 194 ODIs.

Nicholas, a Hampshire mainstay for many years before turning to broadcasting, has become one of the best-known anchor presenters, and often worked in tandem with Warne.

Level never seen before

Remembering Warne's influence, Nicholas told talkSPORT: "He turned a whole generation around to a new rock and roll type of cricket, he played to a level never been seen before.

"He always was an entertainer, he was never compromised by his art, and what he really valued was loving that so many people loved watching him play. He was an amazing guy with extraordinary energy.

"The only consolation I can give is he gave this life a good crack. I would say I would have trusted him with my life and would rate him as one of the great enthusiasts… of anything. He was up for anything."

Warne also played for Hampshire, some years after Nicholas retired, and captained the county side.

15-year career

But it was as a spin pioneer with Australia that Warne shone brightest, his flair and cunning undoing the world's finest batsmen. He was repeatedly the scourge of English batsmen, helping Australia to seven Ashes series wins.

He retired from international cricket in 2007 after a 15-year career, seeing out his final years as a player in T20 competitions.

"This is a desperate blow," Nicholas said. "He was one of the most amazing people I've ever met and it's just terrible."