708 Test wickets, a legend of the game and one of the most iconic Australians of all time. If there was anyone who deserves to be celebrated often in the year of his death it's Shane Warne.
Australia and much of the cricketing world stood still earlier this year when the news came through that Shane Warne had suffered a heart attack in his Thailand hotel room. It may have been a short life but it was certainly a life well lived.
On Friday when the Melbourne Stars play their first match of the BBL at the Melbourne Cricket Ground Shane Warne will be celebrated once again.
The BBL is a massive part of Warne's legacy with the superstar essentially kicking off what has become of the most important events in the Australian summer.
Warne saw what was being done in India during his stint in the IPL playing for Rajasthan and knew it needed to come to Australia as well. He was key in changing the BBL from a state-based competition that no one really watched to becoming one of the best and biggest T20 competitions in the world with the franchise era.
Warne played 15 games for the Stars in the first two seasons with him coming out of retirement to be a part of the competition. Who can forget his battle with Marlon Samuels or the time he accurately predicted how he would dismiss now England coach Brendan McCullum.
Warne's impact on both the Stars and the Big Bash League as a whole will be celebrated in the following ways.
Every player will have Warne's number 23 incorporated into their kit
One of Shane Warne's playing tops will be displayed on a plinth with his cap
Standing ovation to take place after the 23rd ball of the game
Shane Warne's playing top will be permanently hung in the changerooms as a tribute
Warne's family has been invited into the changerooms after the match and will be part of the matchday presentation
Social media tributes throughout the week
The Melbourne Stars will permanently retire the number 23
General Manager Blair Crouch said:
"I want to thank the Warne family for their support in helping us recognise the incredible legacy that Shane left with the Stars.
"His time at the club may have been short but his impact will be everlasting and we're looking forward to celebrating that on Friday night at the MCG with all of our members and fans."
The legacy of Warne will continue to be celebrated through the Australian summer with Cricket Australia having big plans for the upcoming Boxing Day Test against South Africa.
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