A stand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is to be renamed in honour of Shane Warne, the Australian cricket legend who died at the age of 52 on Friday.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has also offered a state funeral to Warne’s family following his passing. Warne was born in suburban Melbourne and many of his career highlights took place at the MCG.

Warne became just the fifth Australian bowler to take a Test match hat-trick in the 1994 Boxing Day match against England. He also became the first bowler to pass the 700-Test wicket mark when he bowled Andrew Strauss in front of 89,155 fans at the MCG during the 2006 Boxing Day Test.

A statue of Warne was unveiled outside Gate 2 of the MCG in December 2011 and his name will now adorn the stadium’s Great Southern Stand. The 18,000-seat stand will be known as the S. K. Warne Stand in his honour.

Michael Happell, president of the Melbourne Cricket Club, which manages the MCG, said: “We join the rest of the Australian community in expressing our shock and agony at the passing of one of Australia’s greatest ever cricketers – Shane Warne.

“Shane Warne and the MCG have gone hand in hand for the best part of almost four decades, and it seems incomprehensible that he is no longer with us. He lit up the MCG like no one else – from his 1994 hat-trick to claiming his 700th Test wicket – few have made as big of an impact on the hallowed turf as Shane.

“We will continue to honour his memory and career achievements at the MCG and when we walk past the statue of his likeness located outside Gate 2. Our thoughts are with Shane’s children, family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.”

Image: Rodger Wang on Unsplash