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Crane remembers Warne when he bowls

London Spirit legspinner Mason Crane says words of wisdom from the late Shane Warne still run through his mind when he bowls.

Crane said childhood idol Warne, who died suddenly in March, had an “immeasurable impact” on his career.

The 25-year-old played under the Australian great for the Spirit during last year’s inaugural Hundred tournament, having been inspired by his performances in the 2005 Ashes and followed in his footsteps by representing Hampshire at county level.

One-time England international Crane, who is preparing to face the Welsh Fire on Wednesday at Lord’s, admits Warne is an enduring influence.

“Without Shane Warne I wouldn’t be playing cricket,” he told the PA news agency.

“He’s the reason why I started playing the game and he’s the reason why I kept playing when I was really young.

“Last year spending a good chunk of time with him, I’m honoured to have had that. It’s fair to say that he was everything you could hope for and more really.

“Even now I’m certain that when I’m bowling I’m remembering certain things that he’s said to me, always trying to keep that mindset that he had as well, trying to attack and get wickets and put the other team on the back foot through us being aggressive.

“He’s had an immeasurable impact really on me personally.”

Warne’s death at the age of 52 stunned the sporting world, with Crane describing it as a “hammer blow” which affected him for “quite some time”.

Spirit finished bottom of the men’s Hundred standings last summer but, under the guidance of ex-England coach Trevor Bayliss and his World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan, they are flying high this campaign following four wins from five matches.

Crane says the shock loss of former head coach Warne has given the team greater purpose.

“As a squad we’ve spoken about playing in honour of Shane Warne, taking his legacy forward,” he said, speaking at the launch of ‘Your Pitches’, a video series documenting how players discovered cricket as part of Hundred partner KP Snacks’ ‘Everyone In’ campaign.

“If I’m being honest, every step on the field there is a little bit in everyone that’s really hoping we do Warney proud.

“As a group we’re all that bit closer. We’re all playing for that common goal that slight bit more, in honour of Warney – trying to do our best for him because it’s the best way we can honour him.”

Crane was handed his international debut by former NSW player Bayliss, becoming England’s youngest specialist spinner in 90 years when, aged 20, he made his Test bow in the 2017-18 Ashes.

His display earned praise from Warne but multiple stress fractures in his back subsequently hampered his progress.

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