Picture credit: Cricket Australia

In honour of the late Australian cricket legend Shane Warne, cricket fans attending this year's Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground will have the opportunity to undergo free heart tests. The initiative, led by Cricket Australia and the Shane Warne Legacy (SWL), aims to raise awareness about heart health after the cricketer's sudden passing in March 2022. The Boxing Day Test will be played between Australia and Pakistan, starting December 26. 

During days one to four of the Test match, 23 health stations will be set up around the MCG, offering fans a quick four-minute heart test. The collaboration between Cricket Australia and SWL aims to create a meaningful space at the iconic MCG, allowing fans to come together, reflect on the life and times of Warnie, and pay their respects during one of his favourite weeks of the year. Warne's tragic passing spurred a significant increase in public awareness of heart disease, with a 62% rise in heart checks recorded until January 2023. The initiative underscores the critical importance of early screening and awareness in preventing heart-related issues.



Last year, spectators, players and match officials at the MCG collectively paused at 3.50 pm, paying homage to Warne's Test cap number 350 during the Australia-South Africa game - the first Boxing Day Test after his death. This time around, spectators will be invited to tip their broad-brimmed floppy headwear, a Warnie favourite, around the ground at the same time to commemorate the life of the cricket icon. 

Apart from being a timeless legend in the echelons of Australian cricket, Warne was also instrumental in growing the popularity of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in India since 2008. His first-ever captaincy stint with Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural IPL season ended in a famous title victory for the Jaipur-brand franchise. Warne's contributions to the game continued in the form of his mentorship, and he remained an integral part of the Royals Family. In 2022, the Royals paid a special tribute in their match against Mumbai Indians at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. The players also wore specially-designed match jerseys, with Warne's initials 'SW23' written on the backs.