Wiry Warne perplexes the English
Four weeks ago, as England struggled to believe summer was on its way, the most curious of sights was seen on the streets of London: a 28-foot tall statue of Shane Warne, atop a lorry, racing past various landmarks in the city. At least, we assumed it was Warne.
No sooner had the giant (and altogether rather frightening) statue been unveiled slap bang in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, to the incredulity of Londoners, than it was whisked off again to another location. A six-foot-tall Warne is a fearsome enough prospect for England, but 28-feet of Warne rather takes the biscuit. Indeed, it was revealed today, that is precisely Cricket Australia's intention.
The whole event forms part of Cricket Australia's TV campaign, titled `Big Warnie', to advertise the forthcoming Ashes in November. Cue humorous clichés of "Warne wreaks havoc with the English: again!".
"The excitement ahead of the Ashes series is building by the day and being a part of it, in any shape or form, is an honour," Warne commented. "Hopefully the excitement and passion about the series translates into some really vocal Aussie support when it all starts at the Gabba in November."
The statue, made of wire and plaster, was ushered past many of London's most iconic landmarks on its way to its final destination, Piccadilly Circus, where it was officially unveiled to the bemusement of hundreds of stunned English onlookers.
Some of the places 'Big Warnie' visited during his tour included Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, the Millennium Bridge and Tower Bridge.
Speaking to the BBC at the Stella Artois Tennis Championship in London, Warne - commenting on the Ashes tickets farce a couple of weeks ago, said: "It will be 95,000 people every day for five days. They'll all be behind us unless there are 75,000 tickets sold to the Poms.
"All of Australia is looking forward to seeing something like last year, with the same spirit and the same sportsmanship. Let's hope it's exactly the same series as last year but with a different result."
Will Luke is editorial assistant of Cricinfo