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Legendary cricketer Shane Warne has been posthumously awarded one of Australia’s highest accolades in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The decision to recognise Warne within the Order of Australia remedies his absence from the official pantheon recognising the achievements of the nation’s most notable citizens.
Warne, who died aged 52 on March 4 in Thailand, has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia, the second highest level of acknowledgement in the awards system.
‘For distinguished service to cricket as a player, role model and commentator, to the community through charitable initiatives, and for philanthropic contributions,’ the citation reads.
In the days after Warne’s death Daily Mail Australia noted the game’s greatest spin bowler had never formally been honoured by his country and revealed that wrong was about to be righted.
Shane Warne was named as one of the five greatest cricketers to play the game but died without being honoured by his own country. Warne won almost every plaudit a cricketer could earn but until now never appeared on the Australia Day or the Queen’s Birthday honours lists
Shane Warne has been posthumously awarded one of Australia’s highest accolades in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The decision to recognise Warne within the Order of Australia is long overdue. Warne is pictured at Buckingham Palace with the Queen
The recognition of Warne is long overdue. His captains Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting are all Officers of the Order of Australia (AO).
So too is Test captain of the 1970s and 1980s Greg Chappell and Ian Healy, who kept wicket to Warne for the first half of the King of Spin’s international career.
Recently retired Wimbledon, Australian Open and French Open-winning tennis great Ash Barty has joined Warne as an AO appointee in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Warne took 708 wickets with his right-arm leg breaks across 145 Tests between 1992 and 2007.
That tally has only been bettered by Sri Lankan right-arm off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who took 800 scalps in 133 Tests from 1992 to 2010.
Daily Mail Australia revealed in the days after his death in March that history’s greatest spin bowler would finally be honoured his country. Warne, who died on March 4 in Thailand, has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia, the second highest level in the award system
Warne revolutionised cricket with his mastery of the once-dying art of leg spin bowling, challenging decades of dominance by the game’s pacemen.
The only Australian whose cricket achievements unequivocally surpass Warne’s is Sir Donald Bradman, whose 6,996 runs in 52 Tests at an average of 99.94 may never be beaten.
Bradman received the nation’s highest current honour when was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1979 – 30 years after he was knighted by the Queen.
Sportsmen and women are rarely considered for appointment as ACs.
In the existing sporting AC ranks are record-breaking Olympic swimmer Dawn Fraser, and tennis champions Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Roy Emerson.
Others to be made ACs are track stars Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, John Landy, Betty Cuthbert and Herb Elliott, as well as Wallaby and former Sydney Lord Mayor Sir Nicholas Shehadie.
Shane Warne’s children Brooke, Jackson and Summer gather with their mother Simone Callaghan at the leg-spinning maestro’s statue outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground following his death in Thailand
Appointments in the Order of Australia are not usually made posthumously but if a candidate is put forward before his or her death their nomination can still be considered.
A well-placed source told Daily Mail Australia in March that Warne had been nominated and the appropriate forms received by the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat before his death.
Warne was one of 23 deceased recipients of Queen’s Birthday awards to be honoured this year.
His contemporaries Mark Waugh, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer are below him as Members of the Order of Australia (AM), as are seam bowler Glenn McGrath and wicketkeeper/batsman Adam Gilchrist.
Trinidadian master batsman Brian Lara and his Indian equivalent Sachin Tendulkar are Members of the Order of Australia, despite not being citizens.
West Indian allrounder from the 1950s to 1970s, the great Sir Garfield Sobers, and his countryman Clive Lloyd are on Warne’s level as honorary Officers of the Order of Australia.
Warne’s well-known womanising and other off-field indiscretions should not have stopped him being recognised with an official award before now but perhaps did. Warne is pictured in London in 2013 with former partner Liz Hurley to whom he was engaged for two years
When cricket bible Wisden named its five players of the 20th century in 2000 all but Warne had already received knighthoods: Bradman, Sobers, Englishman Sir Jack Hobbs, and West Indian Sir Viv Richards.
Pictured is the front of the Officer of the Order of Australia medal
Warne was named by Wisden as the world’s best cricketer in 1997 and 2004. He was included in Wisden’s all-time Test World XI for its 150th anniversary in 2012.
Cricket Australia inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2013 and he joined the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame the following year.
Warne’s portrait hangs in the Long Room at Lord’s – where he is an honorary life member of the Marylebone Cricket Club – along with those of Bradman and Australian allrounder Keith Miller.
Cricket Australia and Sri Lanka Cricket named the prize for the Test series played between the two nations the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy in 2007.
A bronze statue of Warne was unveiled outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2011 and the MCG’s Great Southern Stand has been renamed the Shane Warne Stand.
Yet the only official national honours Warne held during his life were the Australian Sports Medal and the even lowlier Centenary Medal.
Warne was named by Wisden as the world’s best cricketer in 1997 and 2004. He was included in Wisden’s all-time Test World XI for its 150th anniversary in 2012. A mural of Warne holding a stump is pictured at Paddington in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in March this year
Nominations for the general division of the Order of Australia, under which sportsmen and women are honoured, can be made by any member of the community.
The Council for the Order of Australia then considers whether a nominee has ‘demonstrated achievement at a high level’. It makes recommendations directly to the governor-general.
The nominee should have ‘made a contribution over and above what might be reasonably expected through paid employment.’
Alternatively, the council will recognise a person ‘whose voluntary contribution to the community stands out from others who have also made a valuable contribution.’
Awards are determined by the independent 19-member Council for the Order of Australia and announced twice a year: on Australia Day and the second Monday of June when the Queen’s Birthday is observed in most states.
Warne took 708 wickets with his right-arm leg breaks across 145 Tests between 1992 and 2007. That tally has only been bettered by Sri Lankan right-arm off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who took 800 scalps in 133 Tests from 1992 to 2010
It is possible Warne had been nominated previously and the application was dismissed. Consideration of a nomination can take between 18 months and two years.
Cricketers with an Order of Australia
Cricketers to be honoured under the Order of Australia include:
Don Bradman AC
Greg Chappell AO
Allan Border AO
Mark Taylor AO
Steve Waugh AO
Ricky Ponting AO
Ian Healy AO
Mark Waugh AM
Matthew Hayden AM
Justin Langer AM
Glenn McGrath AM
Adam Gilchrist AM
Dean Jones AM
Keith Miller AM
Max Walker AM
Peter Burge AM
Bill Lawry AM
Bob Simpson AM
Doug Walters AM
Meg Lanning AM
Warne’s well-known womanising and other off-field indiscretions should not have stopped him being recognised with an official award before now but perhaps did.
Dean Jones fathered a son during a decade-long affair outside his 30-year marriage and died in 2020 with AM after his name.
Warne was fined for accepting money from an Indian bookmaker in exchange for pitch and weather information in 1994, but Mark Waugh did the same thing.
After retirement Warne became a distinguished commentator and mentored young bowlers, as well as contributing generously to numerous charities over many years.
He raised money for seriously ill and disadvantaged children and donated his baggy green cap which reaped $1million for the 2020 Red Cross bushfire appeal.
Leg spinner and legendary broadcaster Richie Benaud was given an OBE in 1962 while he was still playing. Leg spinner and journalist Bill O’Reilly got the same award in 1980 more than three decades after his last game.
Former Australian captain Greg Chappell was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2021, 23 years after he became a Member of the Order of the British Empire.
Rod Marsh, Australia’s wicketkeeper of the 1970s and early 1980s, who died at 74 a day before Warne, was also a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) under the Imperial honours system.
So too is fast bowler Dennis Lillee, whose partnership with Marsh brought 95 Test wickets, and their swashbuckling teammate Doug Walters, six years earlier.
Walters, an attacking middle order batsman and useful medium-pace bowler, has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Another cricketer entitled to use MBE after his name is David Boon, the nuggety batsman who played with Warne for the first four years of his Test career.
Walters, Marsh and Boon each at one time held the Sydney to Heathrow beer drinking record.
Shane Warne: An extraordinary life
England players pay tribute to Shane Warne during a Test against New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2. Players from both teams stopped to applaud Warne during the 23rd over of the match. Warne chose 23 as his one day international shirt number
Australian Test Cricket Team
• Player, 1992-2007 (145 matches, 708 wickets).
• Vice-Captain, 1999-2000.
Australian One-Day International Cricket Team
• Player, 1993-2005 (194 matches, 293 wickets).
• Captain, 1998-1999.
Victoria Cricket Team
• Player, 1990-2007.
Hampshire County Cricket Team
• Player, 2000-2007.
• Captain, 2004-2007.
Rajasthan Royals Cricket Team
• Captain and Player, 2008-2011.
• Mentor, 2020-2021.
• Nine Network, 2003-2005; 2008-2018.
• Sky Sports, 2009; and early 2020s.
• Fox Sports, 2018 – 2022.
• Founder and Chair, Shane Warne Foundation, 2004-2017.
• Benefactor, My Room Children’s Cancer Charity.
• Supporter, Challenge – supporting kids with cancer, since mid-1990s.
• Former Benefactor and supporter of a range of charities, particularly through the donation of memorabilia and making voluntary appearances at fundraising events, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation; Australian Red Cross; Scope; and the Small Steps Project.
• Supporter, mentor and benefactor, Kinglake Community, following the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires.
• Supporter, Christchurch Earthquake Relief, 2011.
• Contributed to the rebuilding of the town of Galle, Sri Lanka, and its stadium, following the Boxing Day tsunami, Foundation for Goodness, 2004.
United Nations Development Program
• Benefactor, Lion’s Share wildlife fund, early-2020s.
• Shane Warne Conservation Grant announced in his memory, 2022.