One of Australia's greatest cricketers, Shane Warne, joined an illustrious group of sporting legends today when he unveiled his statue at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Warne was watched on by his family, former teammates and hundreds of adoring fans as he revealed the one-and-a-half-times life size bronzed sculpture of him in classic leg-spin pose.
The Louis Laumen work is the first statue commissioned by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) in the Australia Post Avenue of Legends project.
The joint initiative will see a minimum of five statues placed in Yarra Park, extending from the MCC members entrance up an avenue towards Wellington Parade.
Warne’s captain for much of his Test career, Mark Taylor, paid tribute to the leg-spinner’s stellar career at the ceremony before helping Warne unveiled the statue
After unveiling his likeness, Warne spoke of his pride at having a permanent home at the MCG.
“I want to thank the Melbourne Cricket Club very much for making me the first statue in the Australia Post Avenue of Legends,” Warne said.
“It’s a great sculpture and I think Louis Laumen has done a wonderful job.
“I’m very, very proud of it, so I’m glad we sat for there for about four hours measuring between my nose and my ears, so thank you very much.
“I also thank Australia Post for getting behind this fantastic project.
“It’s a pretty amazing walk down to the MCG for whatever it is you’re doing, so to have a place here where people can meet and say ‘I’ll meet you at the Shane Warne statue’ will be nice.
“To everyone who turned out today, I really appreciate it. It means a lot to me that everyone’s here and I think the public has always supported me whenever I’ve come onto bowl for Victoria or Australia.”
MCC president Paul Sheahan said that Warne deserved his place among the pantheon of greats who have a permanent place at the MCG.
“Shane Warne is undoubtedly the best spin bowler in Australian cricket history,” Sheahan, who also played 31 Tests for Australia, said.
“His record itself is phenomenal, but he also revived the art of leg-spin and inspired a generation.
“We are most grateful to Australia Post for supporting the sporting and cultural heritage of the MCG and surrounding precinct.”
Selection criteria for the Australia Post Avenue of Legends series dictates that candidates must be Australian, renowned for their sportsmanship and that they or their sport played is connected with the MCG.