“I’ve shed some tears over the last couple of days with Rod Marsh, it’s going to be hard getting through the next couple of days finally realising I’m not going to see Shane again. It’s just so sad,” Border said on Fox Cricket.
Warne claimed 708 Test wickets, behind only Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan, with 195 of them in Ashes matches.
Border, who played alongside Dennis Lillee and a young Glenn McGrath, said Warne was the best Australian bowler of all time. He also said Warne transformed his captaincy.
“He’s on that (Bradman) level. Sir Donald Bradman was a batsman, he’s our best batsman,” Border said.
“But who’s our best bowler? That starts an interesting debate: Lillee and McGrath, but Warne’s got to be our best bowler ever. When Shane Warne was in the Australian cricket team, Australia wins Test matches. It was the same with Bradman.”
Warne’s mentor and hero, Ian Chappell, struggled to compute the loss of Warne and Marsh.
“Even in this short time with Rodney, I’ve found something and thought ‘I must tell Marshy that when I talk to him next’ and then realise, hang on, I won’t be ringing him anymore,” Chappell told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I’m sure I’m going to get the same feeling with Shane, because I liked the way he thought on the game, very aggressively.”
Muralitharanrecalled how Warne travelled to Sri Lanka to help after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
“That was a great help from him and a gesture from him. When I met him for that Tsunami match in Melbourne, I asked whether he wanted to come to Sri Lanka and help. He took it very seriously and he came and helped a lot, and our foundation was very happy to bring him. Galle was a ground that was close to his heart,” Muralitharan said.
“I was two or three years younger than him, so I was always going to play a little bit longer and I always had that advantage. If he’d have played the same as me for both our careers, he would have got more [wickets] than me. I enjoyed that battle, our performance goes up because we’re thinking that ‘we want to beat his record’.”
Former Australian wicketkeeper and long-time Warne teammate Ian Healy said he had feared Warne would succumb to a health issue.
“An early passing didn’t surprise me for Warnie. He didn’t look after his body that well. He yo-yoed up and down,” Healy said.
“He didn’t put much sunscreen on. I thought it would have become skin issues for him over time, but not at 52. And he would have been full of beans right to the end, I bet.”
Healy said Marsh and Warne would be remembered for all that they gave to the game.
“That is why they were so engaged. They don’t believe in coaches, but all they did is coach,” he said.
“You know, he coached teammates and colleagues when he was with them in teams. He then helped juniors and helped young players if they ever asked for it. Around the world, every tour we went on, Warnie went up to the broadcasters at their request and showed to camera everything he was going to deliver through the Test series we were about to start.
“He put all of his skills and all of his abilities on tape every tour. He didn’t hide anything, he wanted everyone to get better at cricket. And then post career, totally engaged as we know, not only in commentary but starting up his academies and teaching kids.”
Healy and Warne were a remarkable double act, and together they would mentally unsettle batsmen.
“To score runs for long periods against Shane Warne with such accuracy, coupled with the skill and ability to spin a ball so well, was nearly impossible. Not too many players lasted five hours against our attack with Warne in it,” Healy said.
“What made it great, I think his accuracy gave him great confidence and then he could spend his energy talking to the batsmen at the other end. Putting challenges out to them, criticising them, and even most dumbfounding was complimenting them. And I got to see the batsmen’s reactions from my end of the pitch.”
There was little warmth between Warne and Steve Waugh, the spinner believing Waugh as captain had let him down when he was dropped for the deciding Test in the Caribbean in 1999. But Waugh was effusive in his praise on Saturday.
“Too many memories and moments that will never be forgotten. It was a privilege and a pleasure to play alongside you. My thoughts and condolences are with the Warne family. R.I.P. Warnie,” Waugh wrote on Instagram.
Former Australian batsman Mark Waugh took to Twitter to offer his reflection.
“This just unfathomable to lose another great of our cricket family. Warnie was the ultimate entertainer on and off the field, never a dull moment who lived life to the fullest,” he said.
Gilchrist, Warne’s Test gloveman for the second part of his career, said he was “a bit numb and a bit stunned”.
“It doesn’t quite seem real. I suppose one thing we shouldn’t be surprised about is that Warnie never did things normally or by the book or you would say the fashionable way. He played his own game and it was a different game to everybody else. It was a different league. A different level,” he said.
Indian great Sachin Tendulkar also took to social media, declaring he was “shocked, stunned & miserable… will miss you Warnie. Will always treasure our on field duels & off field banter.”
Fellow batting great Brian Lara said he was “heartbroken and speechless” and “literally don’t know how to sum up this situation”.