This remarkable skill – not just to understand the game but to bend it to his will – made his lectures on spin bowling appointment viewing. The Sky Sports masterclasses he did with Ian Ward were gripping, not just in being able to see his technique dissected, but also his mind: there surely was never a more cunning bowler in cricket.
Only a tiny percentage of the people gutted by Warne’s passing will be able to say that they did know him, but many others of us feel that we did. Personally, in terms of a sense of loss at the death of someone I’ve never met, only David Bowie, and perhaps Anthony Bourdain compare.
That people feel a genuine grief for Warne might well be a product of the reach of modern celebrity and the connectivity, real or illusory, of the social media age, but also speak to the authenticity of the man: his human flaws, his smarts, his appetites, his brilliance.
In time, we will smile and raise a slice of pizza to Shane for all the memories. But the loss, at the moment, is the equal of the man and his impact: enormous.