KARACHI: Australian opener David Warner plans to attend the state funeral of his childhood idol Shane Warne later this month, but he says it will take time to get used to the legendary bowler’s passing.Warne died following a heart attack while holidaying in Thailand last week, and his death has shaken the Australian team, who are currently touring Pakistan.”It still hasn’t really sunk in,” said Warner ahead of the second Test starting in Karachi from Saturday.”When we first found out, we thought it was a joke.”Warner said he will head home after the third Test, in Lahore starting March 25, as he was not part of the subsequent limited overs series.
Warne’s state funeral is scheduled for March 30, and Warner said: “I will be there, 100 per cent.””It’s definitely going to be extremely emotional for everyone. There will be lots of people paying their respects,” he said.”You just look at the tributes from around the world — he has touched millions and millions of people, and from different countries.”Warner said he grew up idolising Warne.
“As a kid, I had his poster up on the wall. I wanted to be like Shane.”Still, Warner has attracted fans of his own in Pakistan, where Australia are touring for the first time since 1998, having declined to visit previously on security grounds.The nuggety opening batsman has amused the crowd by showing off his dance moves to music played between overs or accompanying the spectators in their chants.”We’re entertainers as well,” said Warner. “If I’m not playing in the middle where I’m batting, I like to engage with the fans.”Warner acknowledged the Australians wanted to win over the Pakistan fans after such a long absence.”I’ve got nothing but great words to say about the place,” he said.
Wants a better pitch for 2nd Test: Warner said he hoped for an improved pitch for the second Test in Karachi after the visitors could claim only four Pakistan wickets in the series-opening draw on Rawalpindi’s docile wicket.”I just want a game where you can actually create 20 chances,” Warner added. “It’s something that’s going to be exciting and entertaining for the crowd.”Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja has acknowledged that drawn games are not a good advertisement for Test cricket and Pindi Cricket Stadium’s wicket was described by Australia batter and vice-captain Steve Smith as a “dead wicket”.Pakistan scored 476-4 declared and 252-0 in its two innings against Australia’s three frontline fast bowlers and even veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon couldn’t achieve any success on a lifeless track.Australia also responded solidly with 449 all out, but the majority of left-arm spinner Nauman Ali’s six wickets resulted from bad strokes by the Australian batters.”When he (Lyon) was hitting that rough, it wasn’t doing anything, was just pretty much going straight on slow off the wicket,” Warner said.”There wasn’t any variable bounce, which you generally do see on worn wickets.”