Former New Zealand all-rounder Craig McMillan said on Monday that he believed Australian cricket legend Shane Warne “changed the persona of cricket”.
Warne, 52, passed away on Friday following a suspected heart-attack on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand where he was vacationing.
McMillan and Warne played several times during their respective international careers while also representing English county side Hampshire.
“He (Warne) changed the persona of cricket,” McMillan said on SENZ Breakfast on Monday. “All of a sudden, Warney brought a bit of a fizz, a bit of razzmatazz to the game. He started all that with the blonde tips and giving guys a send-off.
“There’s no doubt that he’s had one of the greatest impacts on the game that anyone in the world has,” said McMillan, 45, who played 55 Tests, 197 ODIs and eight T20Is for the Black Caps.
McMillan said that despite the Victorian leg-spinner dominating his opponents on the field, he was much appreciated and loved by one and all.
“The ultimate showman who loved being the centre of attention and loved being in the middle of a cricket ground showing off his skills. 90,000 at the MCG was probably his favourite place to be. I was a fan to begin with and then very quickly found myself being on the same ground and actually facing him which was a bit surreal.
“He was just the best. I played my first Test against Australia in Brisbane and the bowling attack Australia had of SK Warne and Glenn McGrath, two of the greats. I look back on that now and that was pretty cool. I consider myself really lucky to have played in an era where we had some of the greatest bowlers and players of all-time. The worse thing about facing him is that you knew he was not far from getting you out. You knew that one of his balls had your name on it.
“I tried to attack him at times; very rarely did it come off. I think Warney appreciated that,” said McMillan.