- Shamser Khalid
Shane Warne Portrait is Unveiled at the Bradman Museum
In 2011, a group of pundits was commissioned by the Bradman Museum International Cricket Hall of Fame in Bowral, New South Wales. The goal was to select a shortlist of 20 players considered the greatest of all time. When the players were selected, Artist Dave Thomas was commissioned to paint their portraits.
After 11 years, the final painting in the collection of artworks is unveiled, and it’s a portrait of Shane Warne. Warne was the last player scheduled to sit for his portrait, before his sudden death in Thailand in March.
The collection is called the Greats of the Game, and includes Cricket legends like Vivian Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, and Adam Gilchrist.
Warne reportedly took a while for Thomas to sit down with and before he could have his portrait done, it was too late. To make up for it, Thomas poured through photos and videos of Warne to capture his likeness and used a body double for the final portrait.
When interviewed about Warne’s portrait, Thomas said, "My aim was to try to capture him in his best light, so everybody can look at that portrait and say, 'That's the Shane Warne we remember. That's the Shane Warne we loved.”
He also said the painting was a tribute to the man fondly remembered as the king of spin. The portrait is also a favorite of his.
While Warne had several achievements as a cricket player, there were specific criteria for players to be chosen for the collection. To be eligible, they must have finished their playing career as cricketing pioneers whose significance would not diminish regardless of the game's evolution.
The panel of judges who chose the players included Richie Benaud, Mike Coward, Gideon Haigh, and Dave Gilbert.
"We had the desire to spread the selections across the full vista of cricket, from the very earliest days of Test cricket, in fact, even before," Gideon Haigh said.
As a result of the criteria, the collection traces the history of cricket, from its early 19th century pioneers, such as William Gilbert Grace, to the emergence of cricket as a global sporting phenomenon.
Haigh also said the game had changed significantly since the 20 greats were originally selected, and the list would likely grow in the future.
Among the players chosen for the collection, Shane Warne was the most successful wicket-taker in Australia's Test history. Before retiring from Test Cricket in 2007, he'd taken 708 wickets since playing his first match for Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1992.
In addition to his Test Cricket achievements, Warne was an inductee to the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the International Cricket Council Hall of Fame. Three months after his sudden death at the age of 52, Warne was named an Officer of the Order of Australia.
Dave Thomas, on the other hand, is a renowned portrait artist whose profile is known across the sporting entities of the country’s east coast. His portraits can be seen in many esteemed venues across the country, including the Parliament House in Canberra.