Shane Warne would have been a “terrific” England coach with his immense knowledge of the game, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said in an emotional tribute to the legendary spinner. Following the sacking of Chris Silverwood in the aftermath of Australia’s 4-0 Ashes win, Warne had confided to his friends about his aspiration to become England coach, weeks ahead of his shocking death due to suspected heart attack while holidaying in Thailand.
“His (Warne’s) passion and knowledge for the game is something to behold. He would have made a great coach. Having someone like Warne to take over the England cricket team, I think he would have done a terrific job,” Ponting told fellow broadcaster Isa Guha on ‘The ICC Review’.
“He’s a huge loss to the world game. It’s simple as that, whether he would have done some coaching or even just the way he talks, the insights he gave us through his commentary, I think we’re all gonna miss that.” Ponting, who played for much of his 15-year international career with Warne said the spin king, however, did not talk to him about his intention to helm the England team. “He didn’t (talk to me about that) because I would have tried talking him out of it pretty quickly.
“I think he had a pretty good idea of things to talk to me about and not talk to me about. He would have made a great coach,” said the batting legend.
Guha herself said that Warne’s desire to coach England was real.
In a column for ‘News Corp’, Guha said Warne had floated the idea to her.
“The last time I saw Shane Warne in person, he came to me with a question… ‘Hey Ish … I’m keen to put my hand up for this England job, what do you reckon?’ He was serious,” Guha wrote.
Warne had previously coached and captained the Rajasthan Royals to win the inaugural Indian Premier League in 2008. He also coached The Hundred franchise, the London Spirit.
“I know he’s done a bit of it in The Hundred (with the London Spirit) but having someone like Shane Warne to take over the England cricket team now he would have done a great job,” Ponting said.
“I don’t think he left too much in his head. Whenever he had something to talk about, he made sure he got that out there and he did it in such a great way.
“It was in an educational way. That was what he was. He was very much a teacher through his commentary.” Warne’s career was marred by many unfortunate incidents and controversies and one of the lowest points was when he had to deal with his broken marriage with then wife Simone Callahan, a few days before the famous 2005 Ashes series.
Their marriage lasted 10 years before the duo split in 2005. But Warne showed character, returning with 40 wickets and finishing as the fifth leading run getter for Australia in their 1-2 defeat.
“I was worried about him, not just his cricket, but his life and home. I wanted to make sure everything was okay,” Ponting remembered.
“I finally got him at breakfast and spoke to him. He told me, ‘Mate what are you talking? I will deal with all this stuff, I guarantee you when the first ball is bowled in the first Test, you would not even know that anything’s up’.
“If you look back, that was probably the greatest series he had in his career, not just with the ball but with the bat.”