Australian cricket December 22, 2011

A bronze Warne at the MCG

It’s hard to imagine that Shane Warne could look any more bronzed than he does at the moment

It’s hard to imagine that Shane Warne could look any more bronzed than he does at the moment. But it has been achieved by the sculptor Louis Laumen, whose statue of Warne has been unveiled outside the MCG. The first in a series of statues to be known as the Avenue of Legends, the Warne likeness sits outside the members’ entrance.

Warne was on hand on Thursday to reveal the sculpture, which he had not seen himself until the grand unveiling. The statue shows Warne in his classic delivery stride, ready to let rip with a legbreak. “It looks like a legspinner,” Warne said of his action, “so Daryll [Cullinan] would struggle with it.”

Back in 1997, a much chubbier Warne was unimpressed when asked by a journalist at a touring Madame Tussauds exhibition in Melbourne if he wished he looked a bit more like his slimmer wax likeness. The MCG statue shows Warne at his playing weight, complete with earring, and Warne joked that “It’s 300kg, the statue, so I’m a little bit lighter at 78kg.”

Warne’s fiancée Liz Hurley was at the ceremony, along with the couple’s collective four children, and Warne’s parents and brother Jason, a man who Warne admits he has still never dismissed in the nets. Warne reflected on visiting the MCG with Jason when they were kids, heckling Norman Cowans as he ran through Australia’s batting line-up in the thrilling 1982-83 Ashes Test, won by England by three runs.

As a player at the ground, his highlights included a hat-trick against England when Devon Malcolm came out wearing so much padding “he looked like Robocop”, but it was an early MCG memory that Warne said stood out the most.

“I think back to 1992 Boxing Day Test match, the West Indies needed about 300 or so that day to win,” he said. “Phil Simmons got a hundred and played really well. Just before lunch I bowled a flipper to Richie Richardson and bowled him. We won the Test match and I got 7 for 52. It was a pretty amazing experience. I remember Dad down in the dressing rooms with Molly Meldrum and Merv squirting champagne and David Boon singing the song. It’s nearly 20 years ago now.”

Time flies, but the statue means Warne will be forever immortalised at the MCG.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here