The Great Southern Stand at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is set to be renamed to SK Warne stand following the sudden demise of legendary Australian cricketer Shane Warne. The former leg-spinner passed away while on holiday in Thailand on Friday.

“It is with great sadness we advise that Shane Keith Warne passed away of a suspected heart attack in Koh Samui, Thailand today, Friday 4 March. Shane was found unresponsive in his villa, and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived. The family requests privacy at this time and will provide further details in due course,” read a statement from Warne’s management company MPC Entertainment as quoted by Fox Cricket.

After the news broke, cricketers and fans across the world paid their tributes to Warne. The Melburnians also gathered around Warne’s statue outside the Members’ at the MCG to lay cricket balls, flowers, beers, pies etc., as a tribute to the Aussie superstar. Notably, Warne had claimed his 700th Test wicket at the same venue in front of the Southern Stand on Boxing Day Ashes Test in 2006.

Victoria’s minister for tourism and sport, Martin Pakula, confirmed the developments stating he had consulted with Victoria premier Daniel Andrews, MCC Trust chairman Steve Bracks and MCC CEO Stuart Fox and decided to honour Warne by renaming the Southern Stand.

“We will be renaming the Great Southern Stand the S.K. Warne stand, and we’ll be doing that as soon as we possibly can. I can think of no finer tribute to the greatest cricketer this state has produced than to rename the stand the S.K. Warne stand, and no matter whatever happens to that stand in the future, whether it’s rebuilt, refurbished, renovated, it will remain the S.K. Warne stand in perpetuity because his legend will live in perpetuity,” said Pakula as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

Warne, who made his international debut against India in Sydney in 1992, went on to take 293 wickets in ODIs and 708 wickets in Tests – the most by a leg-spinner in the format.

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