Australia, and the cricketing world, is in shock after the Australian media broke that legendary bowler – Shane Warne had died of a heart attack while on holiday in Koh Samui, Thailand. The 52-year-old spin bowling maestro was found unconscious and not breathing at the Samujana Villa resort on the island of Koh Samui by a friend. They were meant to meet up for dinner, but as time went by, Warne’s friend came round to his bungalow to see what the hold up was.
Australias’ Best Ever Cricketer
Warne has always been known as a larger-than-life cricketer. A boisterous larrikin with a passion for the game that was matched by his behavior off the field. He dazzled and mesmerized cricket fans—and opposing batsmen. The blue-eyed, blonde-haired Australian cricket legend had his share of controversy with drugs, sex scandals, and gambling that made headlines throughout his career.
He was a well known playboy away from the cricket pitch and was renowned for his love of fast food, beer, and cigarettes. Shane Keith Warne was born on September 13th, 1969, in the suburb of Ferntree Gully, Victoria, Australia. Realizing that he was no scholar early in life, Warne found passion in playing sport. His first true sporting love was Australian Football Rules (or VFL in those days), and he was talented enough to be awarded a junior scholarship with the famous St. Kilda Football Club.
Early Life and Sport
However, after three years at St. Kilda, he was cut from the squad and the club, with guidance that he was not up to the standard required for success with the senior team. After his foray into Aussie rules, Warne turned his attention to cricket. He was good enough to be selected to train at the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide, South Australia, before signing up with the Accrington Cricket Academy in 1991. His leg-spin bowling craft was slowly developing into the cricketing weapon it would eventually become.
After returning to Australia in late 1991, Warne made his first-class cricket debut for Victoria. His bowling talent was recognized by the national selectors, who promptly chose him for the Australian A team. Shortly afterward, he graduated to the senior Test team and played against India in his debut test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1992. Shane Warne quickly developed into the Australian cricketer who was one of the most influential leg-spin bowlers in cricket history. Easily recognized as the most difficult form of bowling to master, Warne’s accuracy and control made him an exceptional Test match wicket-taker. His game seemed flawless regardless of the cricketing surface. Alongside his accurate leg breaks, Warne had great disguise and effectiveness with his top-spinner and great control with his ‘googly’ (a ball bowled with reverse-spin that breaks unexpectedly in the opposite direction anticipated). Adding to all of this, his ‘flipper’ (a ball that is bowled quicker, flatter, and directed at the stumps), Warne had all of the tools of the trade for a leg-spinner.
Post Cricket Career
His success prodigiously promoted the almost-forgotten art of leg-spin bowling and brought variety to a sport dominated by quick bowlers. Towards the end of his career (2006), he became the first bowler ever to capture 700 Test wickets. While playing the game of cricket, he appeared unconquerable, tantalizing crowds from all cricketing nations, while deceiving opposition batsmen with his diverse deliveries.
Warne always had a love-hate relationship with the media, and his personal weight gain problems (which were common throughout his career) became the press gallery’s main topic at one point. Warne retired from test cricket in 2007 after Australia won back the Ashes against England in a whitewash series in Australia. However, he did play a few matches in the shorter forms of the game and retired from playing altogether in 2011. His diverse interests away from the cricket pitch involved playing poker in the world championship poker tournament, designing and creating his men’s underwear and cologne lines, and supporting underprivileged kids’ charities.
However, Warne’s greatest love was cricket, and his comprehensive knowledge of the sport saw him commentating in various roles locally and abroad. With his unique insight into leg-spin bowling, and alongside his astuteness with cricketing tactics, few commentators understood the game better than him. His sudden death at the Thai island villa sent shockwaves across the cricketing world. Warne was an Australian sporting icon and legend who we will all sorely miss. Yet his cricketing legacy will live on.
Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull dead at 84; First NHLer to score more than 50 goals
Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull has died at the age of 84.
He played for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and Hartford Whalers as well as the World Hockey Association’s Winnipeg Jets over a 23-year pro career.
The NHL Alumni Association announced his death this morning.
In 1961, he helped lead the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup in 23 years.
Hull was the first player in the NHL history to score more than 50 goals in a single season. He set the record of 54 in 1966 and broke it by four goals a couple of seasons later.
Along with Chicago teammate Stan Mikita he helped popularize the curved hockey stick blade in the NHL.
His subsequent defection to the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA in 1972 was the catalyst that helped shatter the NHL’s stranglehold on players. It also started the escalation of salaries that now make Hull’s once record-setting million-dollar payday look like small change.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2023.
Super Bowl 57: Chiefs, Eagles meet for title in Arizona
By David Brandt
Patrick Mahomes finally got the best of Joe Burrow.
All he needed was a little shove.
Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal with 3 seconds left — after Cincinnati’s Joseph Ossai was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for shoving Mahomes after he was out of bounds — and the Chiefs beat the Bengals 23-20 in the AFC championship game to make it back to the Super Bowl.
Kansas City will face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.
The Eagles opened as a 1 1/2-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
There are no shortage of storylines: Kansas City coach Andy Reid goes against his old team — which he led to Super Bowl 39 — in a game that’s also the first matchup of Black starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl with Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts.
On top of that, there’s a brother-against-brother showdown between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Philadelphia center Jason Kelce.
“ Officially done being a Chiefs fan this season!! ” Jason Kelce tweeted immediately after the Chiefs won.
The Chiefs have been making deep postseason runs on a regular basis ever since Mahomes came to town as the franchise quarterback.
This was their fifth straight trip to the AFC title game and will be their third Super Bowl appearance in that span. They beat the 49ers for the NFL title in the 2019 season, but lost to the Bucs the following season.
The Eagles clobbered the Niners 31-7 in the NFC title gameearlier Sunday. They’ve looked dominant in the playoffs so far, also beating the New York Giants 38-7 in the divisional round.
Philadelphia is back in the Super Bowl five years after beating the New England Patriots 41-33 on Feb. 4, 2018.
Now a mostly new generation of Eagles — led by coach Nick Sirianni and Hurts — will come to Arizona to try and win another title.
The Chiefs-Bengals game looked as if it was going to overtime before Ossai’s ill-advised play. Mahomes — who was playing on a badly sprained ankle — was running to get a first down in the final seconds as Ossai desperately tried to track him down.
Mahomes was out of bounds when Ossai gave him a shove, sending both players tumbling to the turf. The ensuing 15-yard penalty was enough to push Butker into field-goal range and the kick split the uprights.
A distraught Ossai sat on the bench with his head in his hands, well after the game was over.
The Bengals and Chiefs were playing for the fourth time in less than 400 days and Cincinnati had won the previous three meetings — all by three points. This one was decided by a field goal, too, and all Burrow could do was watch.
The Bengals lost to the Rams in last year’s Super Bowl and they just missed another chance at returning to the title game.
NO DRAMA IN NFC
Oddsmakers thought fans were in for some close conference championship games.
They’ll have to settle for a 50% success rate.
The NFC title game was a blowout. Niners rookie quarterback Brock Purdy was injured in the first quarter when Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick drilled his right arm on a play that was ruled a fumble. The Eagles recovered that fumble and the injury proved to be a game-changer.
With Purdy hurt, San Francisco turned to 36-year-old journeyman Josh Johnson, who couldn’t do much before eventually leaving with a concussion. Purdy came back into the game, but could barely throw, and the Eagles cruised to the win.
The 49ers dealt with quarterback injuries all season, losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo before turning to Purdy, a seventh-round draft pick out of Iowa State. Purdy stepped into a starter’s role in December and won his first seven games before Sunday’s injury.
Here’s a few things to know about the upcoming Super Bowl:
WHAT’S THE UPCOMING SCHEDULE?
Pro Bowl flag-football game, 3 p.m. EST, ABC/ESPN
Super Bowl LVII, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 6:30 p.m. EST, Fox
RIHANNA AT HALFTIME
Rihanna will take center stage as the headline act for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.
With sales of more than 250 million records worldwide, Rihanna ranks as one of the best-selling female artists ever. Her most recent album was 2016′s “Anti.” Rihanna last performed publicly at the Grammy Awards in 2018.
The singer said she turned down a similar opportunity for the 2019 Super Bowl that was ultimately headlined by Maroon 5. At the time, many artists voiced support for Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality against Black people and minorities by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.
Country music star Chris Stapleton will sing the national anthem, while R&B legend Babyface will perform “America the Beautiful.”
PRO BOWL MAKEOVER
The Pro Bowl is getting a major makeover this year after the NFL eliminated its full-contact all-star game and replaced it with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game.
The flag football contest is Feb. 5 in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium, one week before the Super Bowl.
The Pro Bowl debuted in January 1951 in Los Angeles and stayed there for 21 seasons before the game moved to different cities from 1972-80. Hawaii hosted from 1980-2009, and the game has had several homes in the years since, including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.
“The game was kind of silly, I guess,” Saints two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk said back in September when the news was announced. “Guys weren’t out there playing true football. Hopefully, there’ll be a lot of interactions with the fans and guys will get their opportunity to go out there and show some skills. I could see that being a good change.”
AP Entertainment Writers Jake Coyle and Jonathan Landrum Jr. and AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this story.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
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