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Sheffield’s Joe Root has paid tribute to cricketing legend Shane Warne after being rocked by the death of the legendary former Australia leg-spinner, at the age of 52.
A Shane Warne tribute is pictured on the big screen during the round 17 A-League Men's match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC at CommBank Stadium, on March 05, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)A Shane Warne tribute is pictured on the big screen during the round 17 A-League Men's match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC at CommBank Stadium, on March 05, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)
A Shane Warne tribute is pictured on the big screen during the round 17 A-League Men's match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC at CommBank Stadium, on March 05, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Warne passed away after suffering a suspected heart attack at his villa in Thailand on Friday and leaves an indelible mark on cricket, having taken 708 wickets in 145 Tests between 1992 and 2007.

Despite his side losing 2-1 in the famous 2005 Ashes series, Warne took 40 wickets and left a mark on a young Root, watching at home in Sheffield.

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Now the England Test skipper, Root - currently in the Caribbean preparing for England's Test series against the West Indies which starts next week - paid tribute to Warne on the final day of England’s warm-up game against a Cricket West Indies President's XI in Antigua.

Joe Root, right, and his England teammates pay tribute to the late Shane Warne with a minute's silence (Gareth Copley/Getty Images)Joe Root, right, and his England teammates pay tribute to the late Shane Warne with a minute's silence (Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Joe Root, right, and his England teammates pay tribute to the late Shane Warne with a minute's silence (Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

"My experiences of Shane were of someone who absolutely loved the game,” he said.

"Growing up he was a massive idol of mine and someone you wanted to emulate. The way he could win a game on his own, his skill levels were incredible.

"Certainly as a young kid watching him play, I'd have been 14 when the 2005 Ashes were on, in many ways that series was a massive influence on my career.

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"The way he captured the nation, along with the whole of that series...his phenomenal performances were the sort of things that make you want to get into the game and play at the highest level."

While their careers did not intertwine, Root remembers spending time in Warne's company and was struck by his zeal for cricket, which continued after he stopped playing altogether in 2013 after a spell on the Twenty20 circuit.

Warne later forged a successful career as a TV commentator and pundit.

"I never got a chance to play against him, but anyone that you speak to said how formidable he was to play against,” Root added.

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"Not just with his skill level and how he played the game but he did it in the right way.

"I did get a chance to sit down and talk cricket with him and I'll fondly remember that. We had two or three hours. He really loved the game of cricket and he was great fun to be around. I'm deeply saddened to hear this news."

Ben Stokes was at Rajasthan Royals when Warne was appointed team mentor there ahead of the 2018 season, while the Australian coached several other England internationals while overseeing London Spirit in The Hundred in 2021.

Assessing the mood of the dressing room, Root added: "Really shocked and really sad to hear such a legend of the game passed so suddenly. A difficult one for everyone involved.

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"Thoughts go out to his family and closest friends, many condolences to all of his loved ones.

"We had just started the game and it filtered through the dressing room. It's been quite a quiet dressing room off the back of it. It's hit everyone quite hard if I'm being brutally honest."